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Sunset at Rich Glen Olive Grove. Image credit: Destination NSW.

Stakeholder Update | July 2020

In this issue

Pictured above: Sunset at Rich Glen Olive Grove. Image credit: Destination NSW.

A message from our Chair


At this time of year it’s easy to get lost in reports reviewing cashflow, budgets and financial forecasts. While I love a good spreadsheet, I’m also heartened by the other reports floating around – the research and insights on what’s motivating people to travel, and the experiences they are looking to book on holidays. 
The trends that were emerging before the world unravelled earlier this year are now even more important. For a growing number of travellers, going regional resonates. They value the opportunity to get immersed in a destination, learn more about the locals and contribute to the community. And right now Australians are not just keen to get off the couch, they are curious about holidaying in their own country! Riverina Murray has a massive opportunity in the next few months to connect and convert travellers who will be on the road for many different reasons. 
It’s been great to see the number of opportunities available to help us as we all rebuild our industry. The Now’s the Time to Love NSW toolkit makes it easy to connect to the campaign, there’s an array of checklists to ensure you’re compliant with the Covid-Safe protocols, and some really interesting ideas on how to get more involved with the corporate sector with funding supporting meetings, events, training and professional development.
In signing off I wanted to thank and acknowledge the support and hard work put in by Genevieve Fleming and Judy Charlton over the past three years. Both have received emails echoing these sentiments over the past few days and they are well deserved.  Our team has been all the stronger having them on board and we sincerely thank them both for their guidance and enthusiasm for all things Riverina Murray.
All the best - Kate

Headshot of Kate Shilling, Chair of Destination Riverina Murray. A woman in business attire against a light wooden background


Kate Shilling
Chair, Destination Riverina Murray


Border closure between NSW and Victoria 

NSW will temporarily shut its border with Victoria from 12.01am Wednesday 8 July to contain the spread of COVID-19. The move follows an increase in community transmission of the virus in Melbourne.

Destination NSW is liaising with Government agencies to understand the practicalities of the border closure and will provide any new information as it is available.

There will be provisions in place for residents of border regions, such as Albury-Wodonga, as well as special conditions for freight operations and other critical services.

Destination NSW has updated the travel alerts on and to keep travellers informed about the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

NSW residents and travellers from interstate (except Victoria) are able to visit NSW for a holiday but must comply with the rules of their home state when returning.

All travellers and tourism businesses are reminded to follow health advice regarding COVID-safe practices including physical distancing and good hygiene. We also encourage operators to implement flexible booking and refund policies to build confidence in consumers when making travel bookings at this time.

For all NSW health and government advice regarding COVID-19, go to

Pictured: Couple enjoying an afternoon of kayaking along Lake Mulwala, Mulwala. Image credit: Destination NSW.

New campaign toolkit to help destinations and businesses get involved with Destination NSW tourism recovery campaign 

The Now's The Time To Love NSW campaign toolkit is now available to download from Destination NSW’s corporate website, along with the campaign fact sheet.

Destinations are encouraged to build on the campaign at a local level, and we are thrilled to see Federation Council in our region planning a social media campaign to piggyback on the Love NSW branding and messaging.

The industry fact sheet includes a campaign overview with how to get involved while the toolkit for tourism businesses includes campaign messaging, creative examples and logos.

A library of custom Love NSW GIPHY stickers for Instagram and Facebook Stories has also been created (pictured). When creating Stories, click on the “GIF sticker” feature and type “lovensw” in the search bar to find these.
A crowd enjoying live music from a band playing on stage at the 2019 Lost Lanes event in Wagga Wagga
Pictured: Crowds enjoying a live music at the 2019 Lost Lanes event in Wagga Wagga. Image credit: Martin Ollman Photography.

Eight Riverina Murray events share in $1 million Regional Event Fund

Last week, the NSW Government announced 59 events across the state would share in $1 million through the 2020 Regional Event Fund.

Congratulations to the following events in the Riverina Murray region who were successful applicants:
  • Australian Art Deco Festival (Leeton)
  • Batlow Cider Festival (Batlow)
  • Gears & Beers Festival (Wagga Wagga)
  • Lost Lanes (Wagga Wagga) - pictured above
  • Perricoota Pop & Pour Festival (Moama)
  • Spring Jam (Wagga Wagga)
  • Warbirds Downunder Airshow (Temora)
  • Write Around the Murray (Albury)
The Regional Event Fund comprises two streams: the Flagship Event Fund and a new Micro Event Fund. To be eligible for funding, events were scheduled between 1 May and 31 December 2020.

Destination NSW is working with those postponed in line with Australian Government restrictions on mass gatherings.
Event scholarship recipient Hannah Gerbert at AIME 2020 in Melbourne
Pictured: Event scholarship recipient Hannah Gerbert at AIME 2020 in Melbourne.

Open now: Event management scholarships for regional NSW-based future leaders

Applications are open for twelve event management scholarships, two of which are designated for the Riverina Murray Destination Network, thanks to a partnership between Destination NSW and Meeting and Events Australia (MEA).

Regional tourism and events professionals are encouraged to apply for this opportunity to upskill and further their career. The scholarships valued at $7,500 will see the successful applicants undertake MEA’s Diploma of Event Management through remote learning.

Hannah Gerbert from Wentworth is a 2019 scholarship recipient and recently completed the course, and is looking forward to putting her new skills into practice across a number of events in her community. Hannah has a passion for events and thoroughly enjoyed the course. In particular, she liked the support provided by the MEA trainers, other students and industry experts.

“The ability to study online in my own time meant that I could maintain a study/family life balance and be home when I needed to… as I got closer to the end it all fell together, and now I’m looking forward to using my skills to help the region realise its event potential. I am a member of the Wentworth Junction Rally Committee and was able to use my newly acquired skills during the pre-event planning process, with marketing and promotion, and also in areas such as workplace health and safety to ensure participants and the event crew remained safe at all times,” said Hannah.

The program is part of Destination NSW’s $6 million Regional Conferencing Strategy and Action Plan, and applications close on Friday 17 July, 2020.
Business event dinner
Image credit: Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia offers boost for business events

Tourism Australia’s business events team Business Events Australia have opened applications for their new Business Events Boost Program with $1.5 million in funding for projects to support and increase domestic business events and conferencing.

Funding is available for a minimum amount of $10,000 per project, matched through direct financial or value in-kind contributions, and can be used for marketing and distribution projects which demonstrate the economic value of the events the activity will support for Australia.

The fact sheet provides a quick overview of the program and supported activity including content creation, digital marketing including websites and social media, PR, marketing campaigns and qualified distribution and business development activity.

Applications close Wednesday 30 September, with projects to be completed by 30 June 2021.

Destination Riverina Murray can offer support to applications from the region, so please get in touch if you’d like to discuss submitting an application.
A man and two women look out from a rocky outcrop over a landscape of green farmland paddocks, trees and hills in the background
Pictured: Bundyi Cultural Tours guide Mark Saddler sharing knowledge with tourists. Image credit: Destination NSW.

See how tourism businesses get the most out of the NSW First industry development program

Three Riverina Murray tourism operators have been included in a new series of case studies showcasing NSW First program participants and how they’ve grown and developed their businesses through the resources and support.

The case studies are split into three strategic themes – Product Development, Export Ready Development and Attending Trade Events – and are designed to inspire and inform tourism business.

Circa Hotels, Bundyi Cultural Tours and Agricultural Tours Riverina have each shared their experiences along with tips for success.

Tourism businesses from across the state can participate in the NSW First Program to develop, promote and sell their products and experiences. The program offers both face-to-face workshops and online webinars.
Set set over a tree-lined river
Pictured: Sun setting over the Murray Darling Junction, Wentworth. Credit: Destination NSW.

New guide on how to work with Tourism Australia for industry operators

Tourism Australia has created a domestic edition of their popular ‘Working with Tourism Australia’ guide. It showcases the work they’re doing with tourism campaigns, research, industry development, and media activity, and provides industry with information on how they can get involved.
Great Southern Nights logo on a gradient red, purple and yellow background

New music event to revitalise NSW entertainment and hospitality industry 

Entertainment, hospitality and tourism businesses received a welcome boost with the recent announcement of Great Southern Nights, a new music event that will bring 1,000 COVID-safe gigs to Sydney and regional NSW in November.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres announced the NSW Government initiative would be delivered by its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW in partnership with the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 

The gigs will take place across the state in a multitude of venues, programmed in line with current Government health advice regarding physical distancing and venue capacity of public gatherings. Headline acts include Jimmy Barnes, Birds of Tokyo, The Jungle Giants and Tones and I.

Venues and artists who would like to be involved are invited to submit an expression of interest on the Great Southern Nights website.
Paddlesteamer Emmylou cruising along the Murray River near Echuca-Moama
Pictured: Paddlesteamer Emmylou cruising along the Murray River near Echuca-Moama. Credit: Destination NSW.

EOIs open for regional destinations to host annual local government conference 

Regional destinations are invited to express their interest in hosting the 2022 LGNSW Annual Conference.

Every second year, the conference is held regionally with past hosts including Coffs Harbour, Wollongong and Albury. In order to be considered, destinations must meet criteria including a venue which can cater to 800 theatre style and an exhibition and breakout space. EOIs close Friday 17 July.
Woman and man on a golf course with trees in the background. The woman is swinging a golf club and the man is holding a club.
Pictured: Woman enjoying a day of golfing at Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort, Mulwala. Credit: Destination NSW.

Step-by-step COVID safe check for businesses 

Businesses can check, test and promote their COVID Safe credentials through the NSW Government’s COVID Safe Business webpage in three easy steps:
  1. Complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan using the industry-specific or general guidelines.
  2. Self-register as a COVID Safe business - must have completed a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  3. Show that the business is COVID Safe on premises (downloadable posters) and online (digital badges for use on social media, website and Google Maps)
Safety plan guidelines have been released for a number of tourism-relevant businesses including:
  • Caravan parks and camping grounds
  • Markets: artisan, clothing, craft (non-food)
  • Museums and galleries
  • Pubs, clubs, bars, breweries and casinos
  • Restaurants and cafes
The latest health and government advice for NSW can be found at
A group seated and standing around a long wooden table having a party. In the background are rolling hills
Pictured: Friends enjoying a long lunch with scenic views at Food I Am, Wagga Wagga. Credit: Destination NSW.

New guide offers support for holding events and conferences in Wagga

A new Wagga Wagga + Surrounds Conference + Event Guide is now available for event organisers and community members planning gatherings in the city.

The guide includes information on venues and suppliers, as well as where to find support and unique ideas to provide a complete experience for delegates and attendees.

ART offers free 2020-21 membership for industry operators

In response to the challenges many operators and business owners are facing across our industry, the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Board is offering free membership to regional tour operators and accommodation providers for 2020/2021

To accept this offer, businesses should complete the registration form. Find out more about ART membership in their 2020-21 Membership Prospectus.
Organiser of Wagga Mardi Gras Holly Conroy and Kate from Embarketing

In the media 

Our region was again showcased on national breakfast TV in June as part of Destination NSW’s Now’s the Time to Love NSW campaign activity. James Tobin from Sunrise broadcast from Food I Am in Wagga on Saturday 20 June and the Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory on Sunday.
Clive Riethmuller and Shae Meusburger from Belisi Wellbeing & Equestrian Centre
Saturday saw local operators and events showcased including Bundyi Cultural Tours, Belisi Wellbeing & Equestrian Centre, Food I Am and Mardi Gras, along with an appearance by Archie Mercer, Wagga’s ‘resident stats and facts man’, and local comedian Dane Simpson. On Sunday, James spent time at the Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory, and also featured Monte Cristo Homestead and Coolamon Cheese.

As part of their Explore Your Backyard campaign, the team at We Are Explorers partnered with Visit Deni to showcase the destination as a long weekend option for travellers itching to explore as restrictions lift. It focuses on nature-based experiences based around the Edward River and Murray Valley Regional Park.

Pictured left (top to bottom) at Food I Am with James Tobin are: 1. Organiser of Wagga Mardi Gras Holly Conroy and Kate from Embarketing. 2. Clive Riethmuller and Shae Meusburger from Belisi Wellbeing & Equestrian Centre.
Pictured: The newly refurbished park features a new amenities block, fully equipped camp kitchen and improved landscaping and roads. Image credit: Snowy Valleys Council.

What's new in the Riverina Murray? 

There are always new experiences awaiting visitors, as well as exciting news and updates from operators across the region.
  • Snowy Valleys Council opened the refurbished Batlow Caravan Park (pictured above) for caravans and camping this week. The upgrade included new buildings, amenities and a camp kitchen, funded by $723,000 from the NSW Government's Major Projects Infrastructure Fund. Read the full media release for more details.
If you're a new tourism-related business which has recently opened or an established operator with news to share, get in touch and let us know.

Are you keeping up with the latest industry news?

In between our monthly emails, we regularly share tourism and events industry updates for operators in our region over on LinkedIn and Instagram, and encourage you to follow along for the latest news.

We also encourage all tourism operators, councils and event owners to subscribe to industry updates from Destination NSW. Their weekly industry bulletin, Insights, is distributed every Friday with industry news and information on marketing campaigns, events, development opportunities and research.
Destination Riverina Murray NSW
Destination Riverina Murray acknowledges the many Aboriginal Nations and Aboriginal People of the Riverina Murray region as the traditional carers and custodians of the land that we all now live and work on. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging. Destination Riverina Murray values the diversity of this region and works in partnership with local Aboriginal communities to respectfully celebrate and share Aboriginal culture with visitors to the region and also with locals who live here.
Copyright © 2020 Destination Riverina Murray, All rights reserved.

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