The formation of the National Tourism Councils Advocacy Alliance was initiated by Byron Shire Council, with the aim of bringing together local governments to share their experiences on the impact of tourism on their communities.

Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said councils from NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have signed up to attend the first meeting which is a good indication that Byron is not the only shire struggling with tourism-related issues.

“It is no secret that Byron Shire is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and this comes at a price for local residents,”  Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said.

The latest statistics from Tourism NSW show that in 2016/17 the Byron Shire hosted approximately 2.1 million visitors.

“Between 2014-2017 our visitor numbers grew by 50% compared to 8% for NSW so the impact on our infrastructure, the environment and our community is absolutely immense,” Mayor Richardson said.

“Byron is not the only shire in Australia dealing with these issues and we thought the formation of the Tourism Advocacy Alliance would be a great opportunity to bring councils together to develop ideas, strategies and solutions for our communities.

“Importantly the Alliance has the potential to be a united voice and there is strength in a loud chorus calling for change rather than Byron Shire Council alone,” he said.

“The Councils interested in joining the Alliance are incredibly diverse – from the City of Sydney and Adelaide to the Torres Shire Council on Thursday Island in far north Queensland.

“Tourism is an important industry for the Byron Shire and one of our priorities is to find ways of recovering costs from visitors to help us manage the impact on our community.

“One of the roles of the Tourism Advocacy Alliance could be to lobby State and Federal Governments to recognise the pressure tourism is putting on some local government areas and the communities they serve,” Mayor Richardson said.

The inaugural meeting of the Tourism Advocacy Alliance will be chaired by Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson at the Hyatt Regency on 4 December 2017.

For more information contact Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, on 0427 076 834.