An art precinct, a role review for Maitland Visitor Centre and a list of 'hero shot' destinations, have been pitched as possible inclusions in a tourism blueprint for the city.
The recent Local Government NSW Tourism Conference held in Terrigal has provided the inspiration for attendees Cr Don Ferris and council's Visitor Economy Officer, Simon Farrow.
The pair shared an overview of what they took from the event with councillors this week, suggesting several 'leads' for Maitland's Destination Management Plan (DMP) which could lure more international and domestic visitors and funnel big tourist bucks into the local economy.
The DMP aims to increase the value of visitor economy through more jobs, more visitors and greater investment.
In their report Cr Ferris and Mr Farrow listed a number of suggestions/incentives they believe could be included in the development of the tourism document. These include: Reviewing the role of Maitland Visitor Centre, identify opportunities to enhance visitor services, develop and promote a Central Maitland 'art precinct', explore the feasibility of creating more Maitland 'spaces' and identify avenues in which spaces such as the Riverlink and No. 1 Sportsground can be expanded/enhanced, develop a tourist trail and promote a list of 'hero shot' destinations through social media and websites.
Cr Ferris and Mr Farrow also suggested continuing, improving and increasing community engagement, and the use of #mymaitland to promote the city as a tourist destination.
"The conference theme was 'Experience Changes Perception'. Speakers addressed topics such as arts tourism, the growing influence of social media and the importance of engaging the local community in promoting your product," Cr Ferris and Mr Farrow said in a report.
"Speakers discussed the important role that arts tourism plays in bringing international visitors to regional areas."
Destination NSW introduced the Statewide Destination Management Plan and presented statistics on visitation to the six regional destination networks and projected visitor expenditure. Destination Sydney Surrounds North, the network that incorporates Maitland, accounts for the largest international overnight expenditure in regional NSW.
Presenters at the conference discussed the importance of embracing heritage tourism, and the role high quality events play in creating a positive perception of your region. Cr Ferris and Mr Farrow attended a site visit to Woy Woy, which focused on business owners' push to reinvigorate the area through investment and social media promotion.