Sydney to switch tourism focus from beach and harbour icons to cultural experiences

Sydney icons like Bondi beach are to be less of a focus in the state's latest tourism campaign.

Sydney is set to ramp up its cultural experiences to lure more visitors to New South Wales under a new strategy by the recently elected Minns government.

New Arts and Tourism Minister John Graham said the new campaign is “going to be about the incredible experience you might have in Sydney” beyond the classic icons of the beaches and the Harbour Bridge.

Graham also said he wants to see the state’s tourism agency Destination NSW move its focus away from bed nights to a more experiential approach.

“To deliver bed nights in the next weeks or month is too narrow to capture the reason why someone might come to NSW, have an incredible time and come back in six months’ time and tell all their friends they have to come too,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It’s going to be about the incredible experience you might have in Sydney, after dark, at a restaurant, go to the Opera House, then a small music or theatre venue.”

Graham want to see more live music venues in Sydney.

Graham is a strong advocate of live music, with Labor pledging during the election campaign to invest $103 million to double the number of suburban and regional live music venues in four years.

He also wants to see galleries, museums, restaurants and theatres promoted to lure more visitors both interstate and international.

“As soon as you do that, tourism becomes an arts and culture story,” Graham told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Graham also said he was broadly supportive of the five-year licensing deal to bring Texas based festival South by Southwest to Sydney.

“But I’m concerned that if it’s just a little bit of US culture dropped into Sydney, it won’t work,” he said.

The state will get its own arts and cultural policy by the end of the year.