Wollongong council cashing in on city's growing arts and culture scene

Wollongong council is hoping to make the city’s burgeoning arts and culture scene more of a drawcard for out-of-towners this year, by developing a dedicated “cultural tourism” strategy.

According to documents on the council’s tender website, the council is seeking expressions of interest from consultants to do an audit of all existing cultural tourism “stock” in Wollongong including institutions, objects, organisations and events.

The successful consultant would then develop the Cultural Tourism Strategy, to identify new opportunities to attract tourists.

The council has emphasised the city’s “long history” of arts and cultural activities, noting it is home to galleries, theatres, museums, libraries, public art and its own conservatorium and entertainment centre.

The chosen consultant would need to work with cultural organisations, visitors and other stakeholders, to look at what is working well, what could be improved and what is missing from the city’s cultural scene.

They would then need to work out which periods could have an increase in tourism visits, new ways of attracting visitors and how they could be encouraged to increase the length of their stay in Wollongong.

“The document should take into consideration the new opportunities being presented by the introduction of cruise ships to Port Kembla and also support the proposed Lower Town Hall activation and development of museums,” tender documents say.

Goals set out in the document should be visionary, but should also include practical outcomes that can be achieved within existing budgets.

According to state tourism body, Destination NSW, cultural and heritage tourism attracted 12.3 million international and domestic tourists to NSW in 2016.

The South Coast, which includes Wollongong, attracted 3.9 per cent of the state’s international cultural tourists and 7.4 percent of domestic overnight visitors.

For domestic daytrippers, the South Coast was the second most visited region for tourists participating in cultural and heritage tourism during the trip.

Wollongong council will pay up to $60,000 for consultants to develop the strategy, which will be due by June 15.

Submissions are due to be lodged by 5pm next Tuesday, January 9.