The Riverina region could reap substantial economic benefits from international tourism in years to come, according to an international tourism trade delegation from South East Asia which visited the area recently.
Tourism executives from India, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Shanghai travelled to Wagga over recent weeks to experience the region’s tourism offering and to assess its potential international appeal for those markets.
Organised by Destination NSW in partnership with local tourism body Destination Riverina Murray, the delegates visited local wineries, restaurants and hotels and experienced special tours of favourites such as the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory and the Coolamon Cheese Factory.
Highlights of the tour included an evening at the upmarket Nimbo Lodge (Gundagai), dinner at Magpies Nest (Wagga), lunch at Courabyra Wines (Tumbarumba), a visit to Kimo Estate (Nangus) as well as a champagne brunch at Borambola Wines (Gundagai).
The visitors were also treated to a stroll through the spectacular Braymont Gardens, a tasting at Obsession Winery, a coffee at Nest Cinema Café Books (all in Tumbarumba) and were accommodated at the Mantra Pavillion in Wagga. John Collins from Agricultural Tours Riverina also hosted the delegation for several hours including a visit to Yirribee Pacing Racing Stud.
Chairperson of Destination Riverina Murray, Genevieve Fleming, said the delegates were enthusiastic about the region’s potential as a destination for inbound international tourists.
“They were extremely impressed by our food and wine offering; they could not speak highly enough about it,” she said
“We were so delighted to hear that feedback.
“They also really enjoyed meeting the local operators and believed that the genuine, friendly and helpful nature of our local hosts represent considerable appeal for tourists from their regions.”
Ms Fleming said that substantial development of the local tourism offering would be necessary to make it ‘export ready’ on a large scale.
“In the longer term, we need to develop foreign language capacity and better local operator commission structures for travel agents as well as ways to cater to the specific requirements of international tourists such as offering special cultural cuisine and providing tea pots and rice cookers in hotel rooms as an example.”
Ms Fleming said there are some opportunities in the short term to start slowly building visitation from the English speaking markets such as Singapore and India, particularly with international flights direct from Singapore into the Canberra Airport.
“Just one idea from the Indian delegate was to connect with the thriving local Indian community to build appealing itineraries for friends and family as a starting point,” she said.
Destination NSW has achieved considerable success marketing Sydney and other coastal areas of NSW to China and other parts of Asia.
A recent marketing campaign promoting travel to Australia from India achieved considerable success by targeting friends and family of Indian students living in Australia while studying at University.
Ms Fleming said that recent marketing campaigns promoting Canola Oil from Wagga in India could also help to improve awareness of the region and its high quality produce offering.
“We plan to engage with our local Indian Community in Wagga to harness their support and ideas to promote our region to their friends and family in India as a starting point.”
“We’ll also work on short 2-3 day itineraries to appeal to the Singapore market, which only has 14 days of annual leave each year.”
To engage with Destination Riverina Murray and learn about the support available for tourist development initiatives, please email and stay up to date with tourism in the Riverina Murray region by subscribing to the organisation’s newsletter.
More information about State tourism can be found at visitnsw.

Travel agents from south east Asia at the Junee Licorice Factory

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