Budget cut for Destination NSW while Sydney cultural scene gets $800m boost

Destination NSW is the loser in the latest Berejiklian Government Budget, with the tourism body set to lose around $35 million in funding.

Funding for Destination NSW will drop from $176.7 million in 2018/19 to $141.1 million in 2019/20, a move that has drawn criticism from industry bodies.

“This move is short-sighted considering the competition for the tourism dollar from other states – in particular Queensland and Victoria,” said Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW chief executive Michael Johnson.

“Sydney has 10,000 hotel rooms currently in the pipeline – now is the time we should be ramping up and promoting what our state has to offer.”

Australian Tourism Export Council managing director Peter Shelley also questioned the decision.

“Despite the success of our export tourism sector, which has seen international visitation to NSW more than double in the past decade, the Berejiklian Government has seen fit to make a 20 percent cut to the budget of the very organisation which supports this success,” he said.

“In a fiercely competitive international tourism marketplace it is vital Australia maintains its profile and Destination NSW has been very successful in promoting NSW as a highly desirable destination.

“This is not the time to be cutting the budgets of our tourism marketing agencies and ATEC is highly concerned about how this cut will affect Destination NSW’s ability to continue to engage effective advertising campaigns in market.”

Winners in the budget were education and cultural landmarks, with $71 million set aside for more fee-free TAFE and VET courses to alleviate the chronic skills and labour shortage in the accommodation sector.

More than $800 million has been allocated to make NSW’s arts, screen and culture the “envy of the nation”.

Part of that funding will go to the Australian Museum, the Sydney Opera House and the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta.

“The NSW Government is creating an arts, screen and culture landscape that is the envy of the nation,” Arts Minister Don Harwin said.

“These industries play a pivotal role in delivering significant economic and social benefits to our state.

“To drive screen investment from domestic and international producers we are increasing our Made in NSW fund to $15 million this year and $55 million over the next four years to attract productions to our state.

“The fund’s $43 million investment to date has already delivered an estimated $700 million to the NSW economy – I can’t wait to see what the future holds for production in our state.”