Economic development strategy works well attracting visitors

Community building, strengthening of local partnerships and economic development has been a key strategic focus for Liverpool Plains Shire Council’s (LPSC) Environment and Economic Development Department. One of the areas where local partnerships has benefited economic growth is the development of the Shire’s Freedom Camping Areas and tourism promotion.    

“Our team realised the economic value of embracing the Recreational Vehicle (RV) market and encouraging local businesses to support their needs. As a result, the Shire is seeing strong growth in the touring caravan and RV vehicle markets, attracted by the freedom camping sites. A couple of years ago Destination NSW estimated the Shire attracted 80,300 visitors, with 28,000 spending one or more nights, an impressive 154,500 nights all up, spending an estimated $26.5 million. It is fair to say that in the years since, improved facilities at the camps, strong promotion by our Tourism Manager and importantly recommendations by word-of-mouth and on-line between travellers has seen those numbers rise exponentially,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope.

“We have built strong bonds with organisations like the Australian Caravan Club (ACC) and in May 2017 Spring Ridge Freedom Camp was named their Freedom Camp for the month. Then, Wallabadah was named their Freedom Camp of the Month for November. Considering their magazine is a national one, and the number of camps around the country, we can be extremely proud that our Shire’s facilities were named twice in a year,” he said.

And then there are the comments from visitors –

Ron van Katwyk and Nikki Robertson
LPSC GM Ron van Katwyk congratulates the Shire’s Visitor Information Centre Manager on the Freedom Camping Guide initiative

Hilary & Geoff from Coffs Harbour wrote regarding the Spring Ridge Camp – Thankyou so much for your welcome to the camp facility. We have left a donation with much gratitude. We loved our stay in your peaceful place and think you are very generous with your great facilities. We loved having a koala camp near us!

Miranda wrote in an on-line review regarding Wallabadah Camp - We tent-camped here for one night. Heavily frequented by grey nomads in large campervans, we found a delightful quiet spot amongst the gums, up the little hill to the left as you enter the area. Handy little overnight spot especially if you have kids in tow.

“While the Freedom Camps are free to stay at, our visitors are very generous with the donations they leave, so much so we have been able to undertake substantial investment in infrastructure at the sites using the money. We sincerely thank travellers for showing their thanks in this way,” he said.

“Another initiative is the Liverpool Plains the plains of freedom RV Camping Guide, a 12-page guide detailing the Freedom Camping Grounds at Wallabadah, Werris Creek, Currabubula, Willow Tree, Spring Ridge and Premer. It provides details of the amenities provided at each site plus local things to see and do. The centre pages provide a map highlighting the camping ground communities and connecting roads around the Shire. It has proved very popular and has seen people stay for several days in the Shire at different camps, as they look around,” he continued.

“We were surprised and flattered when Council received the following letter,” Councillor Hope said.

Parramatta and District Historical Society, as part of a New England Heritage Tour, enjoyed a visit to your First and Second Fleet Park at Wallabadah. Our members were pleased to see the memorial and were delighted your Council had the foresight to establish the memorial gardens.

Please find enclosed a donation from the Society and its Family History group for $100. We request this donation be put towards the ongoing maintenance of the memorial park.  

“I must also mention the community members who have supported these initiatives and helped to make them successful. I also congratulate Council staff who have put so much energy into raising the profile of tourism as an additional economic generator for the Shire,” Councillor Hope concluded.

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