By Stuart Kavanagh
Tourist dollars are invaluable to our city, making the Destination Country and Outback board pivotal to keeping coffers ticking over locally and after the huge success of the Mundi Mundi Bash, the focus switches to the next big tourism draws for our town.
The seven-person board has been tasked with driving tourism dollars in the region to the tune of $60 billion dollars in expenditure by 2030.
It is part of what the board’s General Manager, Lucy White, calls “a very ambitious target of making New South Wales the premier destination for tourists in the entire Asia-Pacific region”.
The Mundi Mundi Bash is a small part of that in a broader sense, but it has been huge for the local economy. The bash in April injected $3.5 million into the local economy.
Chairman of the Destination Country and Outback NSW board, Clyde Thomson, is optimistic when the figures return for the most recent Bash, it will be an even bigger number.
The board includes local, national and international experts in growing tourism.
Two new members have recently joined.
The addition of Linda Nadge adds more local knowledge to the committee, which is crucial from Broken Hill’s perspective.
Linda owns Outback Astronomy, an astronomy themed tourism business.
Having lived in Broken Hill for more than 20 years, she has a vested interest in growing the local tourism dollar.
“I just want to see this community grow,” Linda says.
The other newbie to the board is Andrea Plawutsky. The tourism communications and strategy guru is originally from Canada but has been in Australia for over 20 years.
Although she is unashamedly a city girl, she says she loves the regional and country parts of Australia – Broken Hill included, of course.
“I think it’s a fabulous experience,” she says. “I love Australia, particularly the scenery and the landscapes, especially in this region.”
Alongside the new members, there is some deep experience in creating must-see events across country and outback Australia.
Steve Bartlett, who has been on the board for five years, is a former director of the iconic Tamworth Country Music Festival.
He says, “Broken Hill is fast becoming a jewel in the crown of Destination Country and Outback.
Greg Donovan [Mundi Mundi Bash founder] was glowing [in his praise], in terms of the management side of the festival,” Mr Bartlett told us.
The final piece of the puzzle is Director Rob Mason. A member of the board for five years, he has experience in generating big bucks. He ran the Elvis Express, part of the Elvis
Festival that brought In between $60m and $80m annually.
A passionate tourist, he says, “during the last three years, where we’ve been locked out of travelling overseas, I have clocked up about 15,000 kilometres, and most of it has been in this area.”
Chairman Thomson also speaks of plans to try and reduce the amount of time between events, to keep tourists around for even longer.
“We are trying to expand the time that people spend at these events so there’s not such a dip for our businesses in-between, and they can manage staff and their businesses accordingly.”
He added, “we must congratulate the businesses in Broken Hill [during the Mundi Mundi Bash].
Despite shortages of staff, they remained open longer hours to accommodate the many tourists that came through.
We are very pleased with the way it worked out.”
With a team like this building on the success of the Mundi Mundi Bash, working hard behind the scenes to secure new events locally and for the region, whilst fine tuning the ones we already have, the future seems bright for Broken Hill and its surrounding regions.