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The zoo will offer an “unparalleled” tourism experience and boost the economy. The zoo will offer an “unparalleled” tourism experience and boost the economy. Featured
26 September 2017 Posted by 

AWAKEN THE SLEEPING GIANT

Zoo sparks regional visitor market
RED DWYER
APPROVAL for the controversial $36M cage-free Sydney Zoo in Blacktown is set to stir the visitor market – “a sleeping giant” – in Western Sydney.
Western Sydney currently delivers $4.2 billion in visitor spending but needed to overcome key challenges to leverage the potential expenditure, according to Destination NSW.
 
“[Western Sydney] already has a strong [visitor] appeal … but we know there is still more we can do to grow visitation even further,” said the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall, when launching the Western Sydney Tourism Economy Strategy.
 
“The Western Sydney Business Chamber and the Western Sydney Business Connection will receive $200,000 from the government to deliver several activities which will help the government to determine the most effective model to deliver future visitor economy initiatives for Western Sydney,”  he said.
 
Sydney Zoo Pty Ltd would build the attraction on a 16.5-hectare site, at Bungarribee, within the Western Sydney Parklands. 
 
Sydney Zoo would showcase attractions from around the world and native Australian wildlife, with the animals in a similar, but significantly smaller, open-range setting to that at the 300-hectare Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Dubbo. 
 
The proposal attracted scores of submissions for and against the project..
 
Featherdale Wildlife Park, on 3.1 hectares at Doonside, six kilometres from the proposed zoo, feared the competitive nature of the zoo and the economic impact on its operations.
 
Featherdale, owned by Elanor Investors Group, said its patronage was at risk – the park had hosted 11.5 million visitors since it opened 43 years ago and attracted almost 400,000 visitors annually, with 180,000 from Australia and 65,000 from Western Sydney.
 
An independent review for the Department of Planning & Environment indicated that by promoting differences between the venues the two zoos could co-exist to the economic benefit of both facilities.
 
“Featherdale is part of the story of Western Sydney, and we think there’s a fantastic opportunity to work ¬jointly to drive visitation and tourism to the area,” Sydney Zoo director, Jake Burgess, of the family-owned company, said earlier.
 
Blacktown council noted the venues would create a “tourism cluster”.
 
Concerns expressed by the Taronga Conservation Society Australia included the size of the zoo to cater to the range of animals to be displayed and the welfare, quarantine and veterinary care of the animals.
 
Two significant organisations in Western Sydney, namely, Western Sydney University and the Western Sydney Business Connection, noted the potential attraction of the zoo and the overall economic development of the region. 
 
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission approved the project, first proposed in 2015, on September 8, 2017, subject to conditions.
 
Following the approval the Minister for Western Sydney; Stuart Ayres, said the zoo would offer an “unparalleled” tourism experience and boost the economy. 
 
“Construction of Sydney Zoo will mean a $61 million shot in the arm for the NSW economy and create 160 full-time jobs during construction with 120 full-time jobs in place during operation,” he said.
 
Margy Osmond, CEO, Tourism & Transport Forum, said the Western Sydney visitor economy was a “sleeping giant [with] the potential to become the engine room of the NSW economy”.
 
Sydney Zoo is scheduled to open before the 2018 summer school holidays, expecting around 745,000 visitors a year.
 


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Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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