At a reception at The Hotel School Sydney last week (Monday 4 July) The Hon. George Souris MP, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and The Arts threw away his prepared presentation to speak passionately about his enthusiasm for the new NSW Government’s commitment to the Tourism industry and its planned $400m boost towards future goals and development within the sector.
(L- R) Chancellor of Southern Cross University Hon. John Dowd, Julie Orton GM The Hotel School Sydney andHon George Souris Minister for Tourism at The Hotel School Sydney reception.
At the event, hosted by Southern Cross University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management and The Hotel School Sydney, its Sydney CBD learning centre, Souris said the reason the government had pledged to double expenditure on the tourism sector by 2020 was because it perceived the multiplier effect of a stronger tourism sector as the best opportunity for NSW to regain the number one position within the Australian economy.
The amalgamation of five portfolios into one cohesive entity was the first step, he said. No longer were there five ministers competing for funding in an uncooperative, unstructured manner to the point where getting them in the same room was a challenge. The next step is the creation of a new statutory tourism authority, Destination NSW, and the Visitor Economy Task Force, an advisory board to oversee and advise him and his team going forward. “Three boards and 5 advisory committees become one board and one committee” said Souris.
All of the elements of his consolidated portfolio – Tourism, Events, Hospitality, Arts and Racing – were allied he said. All led to a stronger tourism sector. Their growth and promotion all led to the creation of jobs and a stronger economy for NSW, he emphasised.
NSW has just hosted two world film premieres and Souris was proud to announce that Sydney will be hosting the world premiere of Strictly Ballroom the Musical.
Premier Barry O’Farrell, having telephoned Baz Lurhmann in New York to entice him to open in Sydney rather than Melbourne, knew that he had been successful when a pair of size 12 black dancing shoes was delivered to his office, together with a message from Baz to say that the deal was conditional on Barry O’Farrell donning the shoes and dancing on opening night. The Premier immediately said yes!
“The NSW government is very serious about tourism, about creating more jobs and about increased investment in the sector” he said, citing as an example an industry forum this week to take the first steps towards the construction of a new international conference centre on the site of the present Sydney Entertainment Centre.
The Hotel School Sydney, said the Minister, is “at the forefront of where we want to be in meeting the hospitality needs of visitors but it is not enough to merely provide a great hospitality experience; there must always be something going on – theatre, festivals, events.”
Souris emphasised the importance of industry and government collaboration in strengthening and developing the tourism sector in NSW.