The 2019 Destination Byron Tourism Symposium (June 7, Elements of Byron) may have kicked-off in outer-space, but the day’s core message was firmly rooted right here on the ground.

Sustainability and collaboration were themes that ran through all ten presentations, from the crowd-favourite ‘Top 10 Travel Trends’ right the way through to Byron Shire Council’s approach to tourism engagement.

When it came to sustainability, the potential effects of over-tourism on the environment was a hot topic. In his presentation, keynote speaker Robert Pennicott, Managing Director of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys in Tasmania, called for “living and breathing” sustainability practices.

“Eco-tourism can’t just be a word,” he said.

Keynote speaker Robert Pennicott, Managing Director of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

This sentiment was echoed by Steve McPharlin, CEO of Tourism Noosa, as he unveiled the ‘Noosa Trails Masterplan.’

“Switching from plastic to paper straws just isn’t enough.”

But it wasn’t just environmental sustainability that directed the Symposium’s discussions. Financial, staff, and community sustainability are key to harnessing the potential of tourism in the Northern Rivers, too.

“Culture and tourism must be intertwined,” said Cr. Simon Richardson, Mayor of Byron Shire Council, in his opening address, which followed Delta Kay’s eye-opening Welcome to Country.

Both Cr. Simon Richardson and Delta Kay called for tourism operators to work collaboratively with the Arakwal People of Byron Bay to deliver not only a more sustainable visitor experience, but the authenticity that today’s tourists crave.

Delta Kay, Arakwal People of Byron Bay

The day ended with networking drinks supplied by Stone & Wood and Cape Byron Distillery. Attendees and speakers discussed the challenges facing the region’s visitor economy, and the many opportunities for collaboration and sustainable growth that the Symposium brought to light.

The Board at Destination Byron would like to thank our generous sponsors, including our Major Sponsor, The Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. The team from The Ballina Byron Gateway Airport presented an in-depth insight into the latest industry trends, as well as a comprehensive airport update.

Support from our sponsors enables us to facilitate a world-class events series and provide free membership to those operating in the Northern Rivers visitor economy.

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