'Beyond the Harbour': Tourism overhaul needed for NSW

Australia's most populous state needs to overhaul it's tourism strategy and look beyond Sydney Harbour if it wants to continue attracting visitors, an industry forum has heard. 

Sydney has traditionally relied on the unique beauty of its harbour to draw visitors from across the world. 

But NSW Premier Chris Minns said industry leaders had a responsibility to reimagine the city "beyond the obvious". 

"We have to think beyond Sydney Harbour," he told industry leaders at a Tourism and Transport Industry luncheon on Tuesday.

"We want to see people come to a place like Sydney and explore more than just the harbour or more than just our major cultural centres and perhaps spend more money in other parts of the state."

Mr Minns pointed to national parks and beaches as potential new tourist drawcards. 

"We've got a national park that stretches around our metropolitan area ... and world-class city beaches that are not far from the downtown CBD," he said.

"Wherever you are located in Sydney you are not far from being on an isolated track in the middle of a national park and if you're heading east, you could more often than not hit a deserted beach."

Capitalising on these natural wonders a little further afield was what could give NSW its competitive advantage, Mr Minns said. 

"If they do come to Sydney they'll see the harbour or go to Bondi Beach but if they can spend that extra week in town and explore the NSW south coast well that's fantastic."

Besides the beaches and parks, an overhaul of the state's sluggish nightlife and events scene was also on the agenda. 

The forum heard NSW has lost half of its live music venues in the past few years. 

"There's an urgent need to change some of the rules and regulations around vibrancy in the city," Mr Minns said with plans to attract more major cultural entertainment or sporting events in the pipelines. 

"Melbourne's done that pretty well and in Sydney we're a fair way behind," he said. 

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