The Hawkesbury is a semi-rural area on the north-west fringe of Sydney, NSW which hosts many attractions, experiences and natural assets and with such close proximity to Sydney (approx 1.5 hours drive) has great potential to grow its visitor economy. As part of the Hawkesbury Destination Management Plan 2017-2021, TRC was engaged by Destination NSW and Sparrowly Group to complete a product and experience audit and produce a development plan for the region.
The project included assessment of gaps and opportunities as identified in the Hawkesbury Destination Management Plan 2017 – 2021, followed by priority actions designed to address these. Accommodation, experiences, attractions and food and beverage outlets were audited. Desktop research was completed to gain insights into the visitor planning and booking experience, accompanied by an online presence and social media review. A review of ‘export-ready’ product was conducted and listings with the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) were reviewed, with supplementary workshop information prepared by TRC to encourage wider education, participation and use of this beneficial tourism tool by Hawkesbury tourism businesses.
TRC delivered a report which outlined current and emerging tourism experiences, along with identification of product clusters; harvest, food and drink; nature-based tourism, parks, reserves and river-activation; and colonial and heritage tourism. The additional markets of caravan, camping and RV and cruise ship passengers were also discussed. Enabler projects such as community engagement, growing the profile of the Hawkesbury and support for tourism industry development were outlined, with lead responsibility, timeframes and success measures. Priority development action projects were also included with specific actions, priority level, stakeholder involvement, indicative costs, timeframes and success measures.