The Minister for Tourism, Jodi McKay reported that, surfing was a key attraction for almost a million visitors to NSW in 2007 with more than $11 million spent on surfing lessons alone.
“Surfing is a healthy experience which is appealing to both domestic and international visitors and is also delivering an economic boost to communities right along the NSW coast,” Ms McKay said.
“Events such as the Beachley Classic in Manly this week contribute to NSW’s reputation as one of the world’s best places to surf,” she said.
Ms McKay continued that NSW was the number one destination for surf tourism in Australia.
“Around 848,000 holidaying Australians went surfing in NSW last year, which was more than any other State,” she said.
“Surfing lessons are popular with the international backpacker market and NSW received 445,000 international backpackers last year,” she said.
“More than half of all international backpackers to Australia are likely to take surfing lessons.”
Tourism NSW estimates that the states 33 accredited surf schools contribute $11.7 million to the NSW economy each year.
Ms McKay said that the state was expecting thousands of visitors to attend the Beachley Classic in Manley which began on Thursday.
The event which has been supported for the past two years by the state government, will be supported by Events NSW this year.
Events NSW CEO Geoff Parmenter said that surfing forms a natural part of an events strategy for New South Wales.
“By securing significant high profile professional and participatory surfing events and by working with Surfing NSW and Tourism NSW we can support their efforts to position NSW as the surfing capital of Australia.
“Surfing provides a unique and targeted foundation from which to build economic and brand marketing benefits for New South Wales.
“Events NSW current investment in surfing encompasses a regional and a Sydney based platform, extending from the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival in Port
Macquarie to Surfest in Newcastle and the Beachley Classic.
“Surfing is not only an Australian pastime; it’s also one of our most successful exports, seriously big business for the surf wear brands.
Ms McKay said seven-time women's world surfing champion, Layne Beachley, has worked in conjunction with Tourism NSW to promote surfing.
This has included headlining an event in Los Angeles for media and travel agents as part of G’DAY USA: Australia Week in January this year.
“NSW has spectacular beaches all along its coastline including 77 of the top 100 surf beaches in Australia,” she said.
“Visitors to NSW want to experience our unique urban beach culture that is a major part of the lifestyle in Sydney and coastal NSW.
“Surfing is part of the Australian way of life and is a great way for visitors to connect with local people and experience our culture.”
There are accredited surf schools all along the NSW coastline from Tathra to Kingscliff including iconic locations such as Bondi Beach, Manly and Byron Bay.
According to NSW surf tourism operators, Sydney is the most popular destination for international surf tourists in NSW followed by Byron Bay.
Other favourites include the North Coast surf touring route including Newcastle, Port Macquarie, the Coffs Coast and Byron Bay.
Tourism NSW promotes surfing in a wide range of marketing activities here and overseas including on our website www.visitnsw.com.
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