Because the time is right.
The time is right. Infrastructure projects will create new opportunities for events and destination experiences by upgrading venues and opening-up public and urban spaces.
Recent successful events are building the region’s profile as a capable host of large events.
National regional competitors are building profile and securing events the Hunter could host.
The Hunter could be Australia’s leading regional events destination
The Hunter’s diverse natural environment and rich history offers many opportunities for events and short break visits – wine and horse country, coastal and city experiences.
The Hunter lifestyle is relaxed and welcoming. Visitors can enjoy vibrant arts, cultural and sport experiences with all the amenity of larger cities without big city costs and traffic.
As a host of larger events, Newcastle – the region’s ‘capital’ – has a range of venues and facilities with land, sea and air transport links providing a hub for the region.
The importance of the visitor economy to the Hunter and support for lifting the region’s events and visitation profile were strong themes.
There was appetite to develop signature events that define the region and drive overnight visitation.
However, limited regional collaboration on event planning and programming was a barrier to growth. For example: calendar clashes creating transport and accommodation problems.
Potential champions and partnerships opportunities were identified in stakeholder discussions but difficulties were noted in connecting and mobilising these resources.
Stakeholders supported a strategy that:
- strengthened and developed regional signature events
- increased opportunities for business events
- positioned the region to host one-off ‘major events’ such as quality matches in national and international sporting events
- included recognition of local and community events as capacity builders
- improved regional communication to avoid event clashes, provide better quality information to visitors and better management of events held across multiple LGAs
- strengthened opportunities for event benefits to be shared across the region.
Established groups are looking at opportunities in their sectors now
The bicentenary of Hunter wine growing in 2028 is a great opportunity for a signature event.
Newcastle Airport, the Port of Newcastle and the Newcastle Tourism Industry Group’s (NTIG) Vision for the Visitor Economy are some of the businesses that see the Hunter’s industry and innovation sectors driving increased business event activity.
Infrastructure projects are creating new opportunities
The Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan, the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct Concept Plan, Newcastle’s new CBD university campus and transport infrastructure plans (airport, port, roads) will increase opportunities to grow the Hunter visitor economy.
The 2018 project builds on the findings of the 2017 report
JT Strategic Solutions and Events (JTSSE) made the following key recommendations:
- Implement a Hunter signature events strategy to support the Hunter visitor economy and develop event-based Hunter destination experiences to:
- drive out-of-region overnight visitation and generate economic impact
- deliver high strategic value to the Hunter
- strongly reinforce regional brand messaging
- be packaged with other Hunter experiences and attractions for the short-break leisure market or pre/post business event touring
- Establish a dedicated events entity to drive the ‘Hunter Signatures’ program.
- Start an event development process for agreed event priorities to build momentum and support.
- Increase the focus on business event opportunities around the Hunter’s traditional, new and emerging industries plus existing Hunter events.
- Establish a Hunter Event Operations Group, a forum for Hunter councils’ event staff to improve event coordination and communications across LGAs.
- Increase collaboration to improve event and visitor information and build links between regional event calendars, websites and social media platforms.
- Establish a Hunter Ambassadors Network to mobilise regional champions, including “ex-pats”, as advocates for ‘Hunter Signatures’.
- Encourage stakeholders to ensure Hunter signature event considerations are included in the final Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan, and in all JO councils’ urban and recreational land-use planning initiatives.