Tourism Research Australia (TRA), the federal government’s tourism research arm, has recently released three reports of interest to our region.
1. The Tourism Forecasts, produced bi-annually, provides ten-year forecasts for Australia’s inbound, domestic and outbound tourism sectors.
2. The State of the Industry report – 2013, released on 29 October provides an overview of how Australia’s tourism industry performed in 2012-2013 on a wide range of key performance indicators, and
3. Gold Coast Visitor Profile and Satisfaction report – Summary of Results, November 2013.
For further information and to read the full reports, visit their website.
In early December, the international and national visitor surveys will also be released.
The tourism industry is in a period of rapid evolution in New South Wales. With the state government looking to double visitor yield by the year 2020, and the industry evolving from a pure holiday-maker focus to the wider visitor economy, Destination Port Stephens has been working for much of 2013 developing its vision for the way forward for the industry in the local area.
The response has come in the form of the Draft Destination Management Plan for Port Stephens, developed in consultation with the industry and community in order to set the strategic path for the visitor economy in Port Stephens.
Port Stephens Council on behalf of Destination Port Stephens is seeking community feedback on its Draft Destination Management Plan. View the Plan here.
For more information, or to make a submission, please contact Tars Blyhouwer, Marketing Manager, Destination Port Stephens at Tars.email@example.com
Destination Ports Stephens has also recently appointed a new Board at its AGM in October. Members are:
Michael Aylmer, Port Stephens Accommodation (Chairman)
David Nye, Newcastle Airport (Deputy Chair)
Bob Westbury, Westbury Hospitality Services (Public Officer)
Andrew Macdonald, The Nelson Resort (Treasurer)
Janene Rees, Moonshadow Cruises
Dom Grundy, Ibis Styles Salamander Shores
Sharon Aldrich, Tamboi Queen Cruises
Mike McIntosh, Port Stephens Council representative
Kim Latham, Port Stephens Council representative
The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure recently released population projections of NSW. The Port Stephens region will see an increase of more than 24,000 residents by 2031, while the total population is predicted to be around 91,000 people. This projected increase of 36% is one of the highest in the region, second to the Maitland region (42%).
The major growth will be in people aged 65 years and over. The population projections are based on ABS population estimates. More information
Port Stephens Council has recently appointed community representatives and Councillors to a Consultative Panel designed to provide advice to Council on current and emerging issues within the Medowie area, and in turn inform the review of the Medowie Strategy.
Community members included on the panel are Ben Niland, Bob Dein, Roderick Kerr, Pauline Avery, John Robinson, Jon Spencer, Scott Broadhead, Steve McPherson and Susan Hirsch. Central ward councillors Geoff Dingle, Steve Tucker and Chris Doohan are also on the panel. More information
Destination Port Stephens’ newly formed business events body, Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) Port Stephens has scored its first major coup with the announcement that Port Stephens and Newcastle will host the 2014 Australian Regional Tourism Network (ARTN) Convention, which will boost the area’s economy by an estimated $240,000. The ARTN is the peak national body representing regional tourism.
Recent hosts of the event have included Townsville and Launceston. The conference has the potential to draw up to 180 tourism delegates from across Australia.
The five-day convention from October 20-24, 2014, will be based at the Whitesands Convention Centre at Shoal Bay Resort and Spa, with meetings held across the region and in Newcastle with delegates also joining themed tours around Port Stephens and Newcastle.
MICE Port Stephens was formed last year to attract high-yield meeting, incentive, convention and events business to the region. The event will be hosted by MICE Port Stephens in association with parent body, Destination Port Stephens, and in partnership with the City of Newcastle, with funding from the NSW Government’s tourism agency, Destination NSW.
Passionate is a word that is used often in conversation with Andrew Macdonald, owner/manager of the Nelson Resort and Conference Centre, locally known as the “The Nelson”. He is enthusiastic about the potential of the local tourist industry and as such, has been a member of the Destination Port Stephens Board for three years and has served as treasurer for the past two years.
“Being involved in Destination Port Stephens allows me to contribute to planning for the area,” Andrew says. “It is critical that we constantly review the natural assets and physical infrastructure to ensure they are world class. Locations on the coast of NSW will always be attractive destinations for Australian and international visitors, but good, well maintained facilities are essential.
“Visitors also expect good quality accommodation and excellent service. A key issue for us is maintaining the high level of service expected by our clients. I have a fantastic team here and we constantly look for ways to maintain their skills through training.
“Also challenging is the current wage rate structure and high staff mobility.”
Andrew firmly believes that people should consider working in the industry as it is an attractive career choice with lots of good job opportunities for people who are skilled.
“It is a great industry to work in and suitably qualified people are in high demand and can make a good career from it,” he added.
Andrew moved to Nelson Bay with his family five years ago, bringing with him a background in hospitality and marketing having previously worked as a brand manager for Best Western Hotels in Sydney. With family based in the area, the purchase of the then Nelson Lodge seemed a natural fit.
After a substantial refurbishment (which continues today), The Nelson Resort and Conference Centre emerged as a stylish and modern boutique style resort hotel of 36 rooms in the heart of Nelson Bay. A popular element of the refurbishment was the creation of the Little Nel Café, a contemporary space with water views and great early morning coffee for visitors and locals alike.
“Our clients range from mature couples to business people staying to use the conference facilities”, says Andrew.
“Because we have a broad customer base using us for different reasons, we have evened out the seasonality of Nelson Bay, and run at a consistent occupancy rate around 85% year round.
“Close proximity to Newcastle Airport also makes the property attractive as a conference centre, which can accommodate up to 40 people.”
Critical to The Nelson’s success has been its strong digital presence, which Andrew manages himself. This includes a website, social media such as Facebook and a strong presence on tripadvisor.com.
“We find that different media attract different audiences and we have to cover a range of media to market to our client base.”
As for the future, Andrew feels that influences like the strength of the Australian dollar and holiday trends are cyclic, and that high demand will once again return to coastal Australian destinations.
“The most important thing is to maintain the level of quality and consistency of your product.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell have announced a range of assistance measures to assist people affected by the fires in the eastern and north coast regions of NSW. These include concessional loans for small business, primary producers and not-for-profit bodies, and freight subsidies for primary producers. Grants for voluntary not-for-profit bodies that have suffered physical damage are also available.
For specific Regional Assistance Authority information, including application forms for loans, visit their website.
To contact the Authority direct, phone 1800 678 593 or visit their website
Just how significant is small business in Port Stephens? The answer may surprise you, because while the region boasts a number of big employers, it is also home to a healthy number of small and medium sized businesses, be they owner operators or employing up to four staff.
Small businesses are the glue that hold a community together, providing the goods and services that make our lives easier. Illustrating this, the top two small business sectors in Port Stephens are construction – the always essential builders, plumbers and carpenters, amongst others – followed by the professional/technical sector. Following hot on their heels are health care and social assistance in third and agriculture fourth. The turnover achieved by most of these businesses is modest, with the majority achieving between $50,000 to $200,000 per annum.
This last statistic illustrates both the challenges faced by small business and the important role that residents play when they choose to spend locally.
Why are we telling you all this?
Information to inform your business decisions is all available right now in the Port Stephens Community Profile. Provided by Port Stephens Council, the Community Profile details the demographic characteristics of the people living and working in Port Stephens. It provides valuable insights into the region’s population in terms of age, migration, family types, education, work, housing and relative wellbeing. The community profile also details trends over time and provides benchmark data for the Hunter region and NSW.
For a broader understanding of the Port Stephens Local Government Area, also check out Council’s 2013 Community Profile. Released in August this year, it garners data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and contains population and other demographics with trends into the future. This profile can be viewed here.
Glitter as an occupational hazard is not the kind of risk normally encountered in business. However, at Gai Adler’s Christmas Tree Hire home business, a lot is already flying around in preparation for Christmas 2013.
As a small business, Gai was delighted to be recently awarded the contract to supply fully decorated Christmas trees to sixty four Greater Building Society Branches, with the decorations branded in their corporate colours.
“Each tree will be the same in each branch – a great way to promote the corporate look while celebrating the Christmas season,” said Gai.
“We will now cover an area from Wollongong in the south, to Armidale in the west, right up to Burleigh Heads in south east Queensland.”
The contract is the culmination of a lot of work for a business that was established five years ago. Initially running an indoor plant hire business; Gai saw an opportunity and researched it on the web.
“There was no one else in this market, so we started a small operation that has grown into expected delivery of 450 trees this year,” she says.
Most trees go to retail (such as real estate office and hair salons), banks and other corporates with a growing market for private homes.
Gai’s team expands to 10 to 12 part-time employees from mid October to January, including a specialised bow maker, who also works from home. One of the hardest things is coming up with new designs for the trimmings.
“Everyone has a view and we brainstorm ideas to come up with something a little different,” she says.
“We do everything – we deliver the trees, set up them up and decorate them. After Christmas, we remove the trees and store them. It is a no fuss service for busy people.
“A great benefit is that people do not need to store their trees and decorations, can have a fresh style every year and do not have to devote staff time to managing the project.”
As a small business, Gai is a strong advocate for social media, the internet and networking.
“We use Facebook a lot for marketing as it is a great way to interact with our clients and generate great new ideas.”
Gai is a member of the Hunter Business Chamber, the Maitland Business Chamber and Port Stephens Women in Business Network. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the Women in Business Connect (Newcastle and Maitland).
“They all provide great resources for a small business owner, from opportunities to meet with like minded businesspeople to access to tailored workshops and seminars.
“This is critical when you are operating by yourself. Meeting other business people is a great way to learn and network with potential clients.”
And what is the leading Christmas tree trend for 2013? According to Gai, the hottest look this summer will be black trees, with white, silver, gold or even black on black decorations.
Gai’s team will customize designs but have a range of “ready to go” combinations that can be viewed on their website.
How to apply for Business Grants
Port Stephens Council will be hosting a grant writing workshop run by Keith Whelan – better known within business circles as the “Grants Guy” – on Monday 2nd and Monday 9th December (5.30 to 8.30pm) at Port Stephens Council administration building in Raymond Terrace.
This is a two part program and attendance at both evening sessions is required. This will be a great opportunity to find out about programs that are available and then tailor your business idea to a specific application.
This workshop is the ideal, practical guide to grant writing for any business seeking to attain funding by applying for grants. Participants will receive practical step by step instructions, with grants from both the public and private sector being assessed. There will be plenty of opportunity to draft grant applications in class and have them assessed, and discussion will also take place with regard to current developments in the sector.
The workshop is free but bookings are essential. For further information, please contact Penny Amberg on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4980 0446
Hunter TAFE and Digital Newcastle will shortly run three workshop sessions, which will engage and inspire and introduce you to key digital marketing fundamentals. Each session runs from 8.30 am – 12.30 pm for three sessions on Thursdays 14th, 21st and 28th November. More information
The NSW Business Chamber has some upcoming webinars with topics including exporting, property leasing, people management, workplace compliance and accessing government grants. If the times are not convenient, the webinars will be recorded and can be accessed at any time after the event.
NSW Business Chamber webinars connect your business to subject matter experts across a range of business topics. More information