Visitor economy customer outcomes

Customer Outcome 1: Enhancing the Visitor Experience

The transport needs of visitors and people who work in tourism differ from weekday commuters.

To create a world class travel experience for visitors, we need to consider the needs of customers who may be unfamiliar with the transport system and may be travelling at different times. Meeting the transport needs of customers visiting our cities and regions means ensuring services are accessible, comfortable, easy to use and suitable for people travelling in groups, with disabilities, carrying luggage and travelling outside of peak hours and on weekends to popular visitor destinations.

When our customers visit NSW they experience our transport system at each stage of their journey. This includes planning their journey; travelling to and from their destination; experiencing the destination; and sharing their journey with others. We can enhance the end-to-end visitor experience for visitors and enable visitors to move around the network seamlessly and enjoy transport connections to attractions and visitor precincts by:

  • Improving the transport information available to visitors when they are planning their visit
  • Improving access and travel for visitors, including people with disabilities, arriving and departing their NSW destination
  • Creating places and experiences for visitors at their destination
  • Providing opportunities for visitors to share their experience during and after their trip with WiFi access at key interchanges and on public transport and other ways to share their transport journeys on social media.

"Connected, integrated and active cities and regions are key to improving liveability for residents and creating destinations that are attractive to visitors" – Tourism and Transport Forum, 2017

Helping people plan their visit

Our customers tell us that clear and effective communication of road conditions, timetable and service disruption information is very important. To continually improve our performance in this area we are implementing a range of initiatives designed to make it easier for customers to access the information they need, wherever they are, and whenever they need it.

Visitor information and regional promotion

Information about transport services presents opportunities to promote regional destinations.

Personalising transport services to cater for the needs of our visitors means providing service planning information and wayfinding signage in accessible formats that can be easily
understood or translated using new mobile technology for people whose first language is not English, and helpful advice for making connections easier and journeys more enjoyable.

The widespread use of smart phone technologies to plan, book and pay for transport services will be enhanced by new apps that provide real time alerts on service changes. Videos demonstrating how to use these apps and the travel planning toolkit are available on the website in a range of languages.

The Transport for NSW travel planning website is one of the most visited websites in Australia. The site includes information on all regional services and promotes events and destinations within NSW with packages that include travel as part of entry fees for many major events.

Promoting the ‘Next trip’ on board

Planning the next visit in NSW can start on board a public transport service. Transport for NSW has partnered with Destination NSW to promote regional events and destinations on board our trains, ferries and bus services and at transport interchanges.

We could extend this partnership in promotion of regional destinations and events by considering the potential for a regular digital or printed “on-board magazine” to promote destinations, events and experiences, similar to those available on international and domestic flights.

Planning a journey on Regional roads

Self-drive tourism is a popular way for visitors to see NSW. Visitors often do not realise the distances involved in travelling between regional destinations when they first start planning their trip. As visitors are planning more of their journeys online, we are adapting the channels through which we provide information to make it more relevant and available to visitors.

Roads and Maritime Services has collaborated with Destination NSW to establish a series of drives and road trips on the website with information and promotion to help visitors plan their trips. Complementing this is an online rest areas and Driver Reviver interactive map on the Roads and Maritime website to help visitors plan for rest stops along the way. The map works across all devices – mobile, tablet and desktop. It can be used to find the nearest rest area or Driver Reviver location during holiday periods, or to find a rest area with specific amenities on a route.

To progress the commitment made in the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 20307 , Roads and Maritime Services will collaborate with Destination NSW to prepare a tourist drive strategy and supporting marketing campaign to increase regional overnight visitors and expenditure and encourage regional dispersal.

Visitor information and regional promotion initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Partner with Destination NSW, Destination Networks and local tourism operators to promote NSW TrainLink destinations and special services  to events. This includes partnerships with regional councils/local tourism organisations; promoting regional travel to major events; event posters at train stations; promoting services on visitor maps and online events calendars- 
Campaign to advertise self-service bookings for regional services- 
Visitor information centres in key locations, website and apps to provide broader integrated information with transport and other attractions for visitors -
Increased marketing of transport information services and website for visitors -
Facilitate the development of new smart phone apps that provide a single point of information and allow visitors to purchase products that bundle travel with cultural activities and visitor attractions -
Consider the potential for a regular digital or printed “on-board magazine” to promote destinations, events and experiences, similar to those available on international and domestic flights -

Regional booking services initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
NSW TrainLink Discovery pass - Multi-day regional rail and coach tickets- 
Rail and coach tickets available at physical sales agents across NSW, QLD, VIC and SA and on the NSW TrainLink website- 
Package regional rail and coach tickets with car hire and car share -
Partnerships with selected industry inbound tour operators and Accredited Visitor Information Centre network -
A booking platform that allows third party online booking agents to sell rail and coach tickets alongside airline bookings -
Online booking service for customers with special needs on regional trains and coaches -
Market/promote trip plans for top 10 visitor attractions -

Improving travel experiences to and from destinations

We continuously strive to make travel experiences better for visitors to NSW. We regularly receive and act on feedback from customers using our system. Visitors provide us with valuable feedback about what matters most to them, including the comfort of our services, timeliness, safety and security, and convenience. We can improve the travel experience for visitors travelling to and from their destination by improving ticketing, wayfinding and in-vehicle experience.


New contactless payments and ticketing options will make using public transport easier for visitors.

The number of active Opal cards has remained relatively stable since 2015 but the number of cards issued continues to rise. By December 2016, more than 11 million cards had been issued, suggesting many cards are being purchased for use by visitors during their stay.

We have a holistic approach to improving Opal for visitors that includes improvements to technology and infrastructure, on-mode communications, marketing, wayfinding, and
communication and training of staff. As we move to new payment and ticketing models, we can continue to update and improve the ticketing information we provide to visitors arriving in NSW including at key entry points like airports, cruise terminals and major transport interchanges.

Opal contactless payments trial

Transport for NSW is planning to roll out integrated ticketing across regional NSW so locals and regional visitors have the same convenient experience across the State. Looking further ahead our vision is for a seamless customer experience across modes and borders by 2056. This will mean multiple tickets and different concession entitlements will be a thing of the past.

Currently we are trialling new ways customers can pay for their travel such as contactless payments on Sydney Ferries and light rail. These payment systems are already available in places like London, while Singapore is due to roll out contactless payments via wearable technology such as smart watches.

Customers can now use their payment card or mobile device linked to a contactless payment account to pay for an adult single trip on the light rail and Sydney Ferries networks. Customers can tap on and tap off at an Opal card reader to pay their fare using most American Express, Mastercard and Visa cards, plus mobile wallets on smartphones, tablets and watches.

The trial includes services that run to 57 locations across Sydney, including popular visitor destinations like Manly, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, the International Convention Centre, The Star Sydney and Sydney Fish Markets. This reduces barriers for visitors catching public transport during their stay by reducing the need to buy an Opal card for trips on these services.


New technologies make wayfinding easier anywhere, anytime.

Finding your way around Sydney or regional NSW has never been easier with multiple smart phone apps for navigating the system. Transport for NSW has been collaborating with app developers over the past five years to produce a range of trip planning and wayfinding apps. We supply real-time data to apps with over five million unique customer downloads. The Transport for NSW Open Data Hub makes these datasets, along with other transport data, more broadly available.

Visitors can use these technologies to find their way on the system and locate connecting services. These technologies are enabled by smart device charging points and WiFi at major interchanges and on services.

Personised digital transport assistant

Transport for NSW is developing a ‘Chat Bot’ called RITA (Real-time Intelligent Transport Assistant) which uses artificial intelligence technology to provide customers with personalised end-to-end travel assistance in NSW.

RITA can currently:

  • answer over 300 frequently asked questions including 40 that cover regional NSW
  • provide trip planning advice with geolocation
  • give personalised disruption notifications, and
  • accept customer feedback without the need to fill in complex forms.

Transport is working towards RITA having the ability to top up Opal tickets and request fare adjustments. Future improvements will allow RITA to incorporate ‘micro content’ messaging such as driver safety, driver reviver or providing information about destinations along the way while travelling.

RITA is available on the flagship website; Facebook Messenger NSW Public Transport handle; and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice activated digital assistants with potential to extend to other channels including Apple Siri and Mobile Applications such as Opal Travel.

A new signage system introduced in 2013 has made it easier for public transport customers to navigate their journeys and change between modes. The system, which is based on international best practice, reduces clutter for customers when they enter busy transport locations and provides uniform codes and colours to enable easier navigation. It is now well established across all modes. Transport for NSW is continually improving the use of digital information at stops and interchanges.

There is a growing number of international visitors to NSW who do not speak English as their first language. As international visitor markets change, so do the main languages spoken by visitors. We invest in fixed wayfinding signage on our system, to last decades. It is difficult to anticipate and provide for the changing language needs of visitors with fixed signage. For example, 20 years ago Japanese was the most commonly spoken language at many visitor destinations. China has recently become the origin of most international visitors to NSW. A solution is to provide simplified language on fixed signage and public address announcements while developing more tailored and flexible digital wayfinding products. Additionally, technologies like Google translate are making it easier to translate signs and information on the go.

Digital wayfinding kiosk

Transport for NSW trialled a touch-screen interactive kiosk at Circular Quayto answer simple public transport questions in five languages. A digital platform such as this has the potential to provide multi-lingual assistance and overcome a potential barrier to overseas visitors confidently using public transport.
Road signposting to visitor destinations is also due to be improved with implementation of  the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 2030, which outlines actions for Roads and Maritime Services and Destination NSW to work together to streamline the signposting application process to enhance tourist drive signposting in regional NSW8.

Experiencing transport hubs

Our transport hubs operate as gateways for visitors using our transport system. We are investing in our transport interchanges to improve the experience for all of our customers including visitors. Careful attention is being paid to enhance visitor experiences at key destinations such as Circular Quay and Central Station through the establishment of customer focused design principles.

Establishing customer focused design principles for Circular Quay and Central Station

Transport for NSW is taking a customer-led approach to the renewal of the Circular Quay and Central Station precincts. Extensive customer research has been the key driver in the development of design principles that encompass customer needs  and aspirations for the precincts. These design principles will form a key part of the brief provided to future developers of these precincts and will be used by Transport for NSW to assess whether customer needs have been met in the new designs. Our transport hubs need to address multiple, and sometimes conflicting, customer needs. For example, regular commuters and infrequent or first time visitors need different wayfinding assistance. The new design principles make the desired customer outcomes clear for all involved in the renewal of these iconic transport hubs.

In-vehicle experiences

Clearer and friendlier announcements on board our services are improving the in-vehicle experience for customers.

More air conditioned trains are being rolled out across the suburban train network with a further 24 being delivered under the More Trains, More Services program by 2019. These trains will improve customer comfort and accessibility with features that include:

  • Improved air conditioning with advanced temperature control
  • Improved accessibility including priority seating, wheelchair spaces and hearing loops
  • High definition customer information screens to provide journey and safety information
  • Improved interior LED lighting.

New intercity and regional trains

More than 500 new intercity train carriages will replace our older train carriages on services from Sydney to Canberra, Sydney to the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. The first of the 500 New Intercity Fleet (NIF) carriages are to be delivered in 2019.

In addition to the NIF, the entire regional train fleet will be replaced to deliver unprecedented levels of comfort and service for regional rail customers. This includes 60 XPT passenger cars, 23 XPLORER and 28 Endeavour passenger cars for services between Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and major NSW regional centres. The new trains will come into service progressively, with the first trains anticipated to be delivered in the early 2020s.

A new train could provide lots of benefits, such as:

  • Safe, reliable, comfortable and accessible regional trains
  • Ability to leverage innovative technologies for customers and fleet operations
  • A more reliable service for customers travelling long distances
  • Compliance with disability access requirements
  • Opportunities for new servicing patterns for regional cities and centres, including day return travel to support a hub and spoke model
  • Stimulation of the regional economy and provision of long term, sustainable jobs including traineeships and apprenticeships to assist with the maintenance of these new trains in regional NSW.

Ticketing initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Ticketing information for visitors on the website- 
Roll out contactless payment technology across the Opal network -
Expand contactless payment technology to more destinations across NSW -
Opal top up machines in main languages of visitors -
Extend Opal ticketing to more regional destinations and other private operators, such as private ferries -
Self-service ticket terminals for regional services at Central Station -

Wayfinding initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Simplify language and communication on board and within our wayfinding system- 
Trip planning apps and real time information made available- 
Rolling out consistent wayfinding across the network including regional destinations and a public transport wayfinding ‘toolkit’ for place managers to adopt- 
Large internal electronic screens on new intercity trains and future new regional trains- 
Enhanced automated announcements on new trains- 
Roll out of customer information/help points and CCTV at all regional locations- 
Develop a card/brochure that translates wayfinding information into top three languages of visitors -
Multi-lingual digital wayfinding assistance at key visitor locations -
Work with Destination NSW to incorporate local destination information into digital wayfinding products -
Promote public transport through wayfinding at key international gateways -
App to show availability of seating and crowding levels -
Improve wayfinding within stations -
Increase numbers of station passenger information screens at regional locations -

In-vehicle experiences initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Simplify language and communication on board and within our wayfinding system- 
Trip planning apps and real time information made available- 

Experiencing destinations

Transport plays a significant role in a visitor’s experience of destinations across NSW. Much of the public space at destinations is used for transport, which can either enhance or detract from the experience. The accessibility of a place helps to make it successful.

Creating places

The Future Transport 2056 Service and Infrastructure Plans establish a ‘movement and place’ framework to manage and plan our road network in NSW. There is now recognition of the important role our roads play in creating successful public places.

There are some great examples of places we have created on our streets that have become go-to places for visitors. The vibrant main streets in regional centres like Armidale, Tamworth and Maitland are attractions for visitors in their own right. The Newcastle, Sydney and Parramatta city centres are undergoing revitalisation with light rail and streetscape improvements, making them even more attractive for visitors. The development of Place Plans in collaboration with stakeholders will ensure transport investment improves their design and function.Transport for NSW is using its assets to connect people to places and point the way to visitor destinations in places that are accessible by public transport.

“If it’s a great place to live, it’s a great place to visit.” – Tourism and Transport Forum, 2017

Showing how to get to destinations from Transport interchanges

Transport for NSW has worked with agencies such as Destination NSW and Central Coast Council to develop information that helps people navigate their way to common destinations from key train stations and other public transport hubs.

Facilitating Accessible Tourism

Accessible tourism in NSW is valued at around $8 billion per year and is growing. Twenty percent of the population have a disability and of these people, 88 percent take a holiday each year.

Around one third (29 percent) of visitors to Sydney are aged 55 years and over, and closer to two thirds travel in groups of two or more people. These volumes add to the importance of ensuring services are flexible and fully accessible. The proportion of older people and people travelling in groups is even higher in regional NSW.

The Transport cluster of agencies has an important role to play in facilitating accessible tourism. This includes the way information, services and assets are designed for people of all abilities to access. The Transport cluster will continue this work including through sensitive upgrades to heritage listed train stations and transport infrastructure.

Accessible tourism will be a focus of the state-wide Destination Management Plan.

“Visitors with disabilities are usually accompanied by carers, friends and family, which makes inclusive tourism a huge section of the travel market.” - Local Government NSW President Councillor Keith Rhoades

Transport Access Program

The Transport Access Program is an initiative to provide a better experience for public transport customers by delivering accessible, modern, secure and integrated transport infrastructure across NSW.

The program is providing:

  • Stations that are accessible to people with luggage, a disability, limited mobility and parents with prams
  • Modern buildings and facilities for all modes that meet the needs of a growing population
  • Modern interchanges that support an integrated network and allow seamless transfers between all modes for all customers.

Since its launch in 2011, this Government has invested more than $1 billion  in the Transport Access Program. This has delivered accessibility upgrades at an extra 45 stations and 15 ferry wharves improving our compliance with disability access standards.

Customer service on visitor routes

Customer satisfaction on trains, ferries and light rail are at record levels thanks to a significant focus on customer service.

We are improving accessibility to information at key visitor hubs across the public transport network. Staff training, friendly announcements and responding to customer feedback have all helped to improve customer service for visitors. Recent upgrades to the Transport Customer Service Centres at Circular Quay and Central Station have improved the visitor experience at these key visitor gateways to our public transport network. Emerging augmented reality technology will give customers more tailored information anywhere they travel on our road or public transport networks.

There is more we can do to improve amenities and services at prime visitor locations as we progressively upgrade our transport interchanges. New regional and intercity trains will provide improved amenity for visitors travelling to regional areas, enabling a new level of service for these customers.

Creating places initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Ensure the design and function of transport investments improve places- 
Develop place-based transport plans -

Facilitating Accessible Tourism initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Transport Access Program- 
Improve amenities on regional trains (on-board and at stations) Allow space for a supplier to offer mobility scooter hire at Central Station for Accessible Tourism -
Include adult change toilets at Circular Quay and Central Station to enable Accessible Tourism -

Customer Service on Visitor Routes initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Sydney Ferries operator offers a cafe on the Circular Quay to Manly ferry- 
Improved amenities and services at prime visitor locations with Integrated and coordinated multi-modal interchanges -
Improve amenities on regional trains (on-board and at stations) -

Sharing the journey

Sharing the journey with friends and family is the final part of the visitor experience and is key to supporting the visitor economy. Transport can provide opportunities for visitors to share their experiences during and after their trips.

Making transport moments shareable

Great customer service makes transport experiences memorable. We want to create moments for visitors that will be shared with friends and family back home and on social media. Transport in NSW can be something that is talked about positively around the world.

Everyday visitors interact with Transport staff. Announcements on trains, coaches and buses or a friendly smile from interchange staff can all help to create a shareable moment. Staff can have fun personalising these interactions with helpful, informative and interesting advice to visitors.

Smart device charging points and WiFi availability in vehicles and at interchanges make it possible for visitors to share these moments instantly with their friends and family back home. Already visitors can access charging points at Central Station and on ferries. Visitors are sharing their journey on social media with WiFi available on Sydney Ferries, at Central Station and Circular Quay and being rolled out on select bus routes. New intercity and regional trains will also feature charging points.

Customer feedback

Every piece of feedback gives us a unique insight into the way our customers view our services. Our Transport operators work hard to get the essentials of their service right every day. However, we recognise that sometimes things go wrong. When that happens we want to hear about it and we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to contact us and let us know.

To gain an insight into what our customers’ value, we have developed a Customer Satisfaction Index. This reflects the voices of over 17,000 customers. In listening to their feedback, we have achieved an average nine per cent annual increase in customer satisfaction with buses and trains.

Service innovation has played a key role in increasing customer satisfaction. The introduction of the Opal card significantly improved satisfaction levels by enabling greater convenience and ease of connection between modes. However, customers tell us that barriers to using public transport still exist in the areas of availability, frequency, reliability and areas serviced.

In the not too distant future, our smart phones will be the gateway for each journey and will enable transport providers to communicate directly with customers. These emerging technologies will better enable Transport for NSW to receive feedback in a greater number of ways. This information will enable service providers to know customer preferences and tailor service offerings in real time.

Sharing the Journey initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Phone charging stations on a number of Sydney Ferries vessels, including the Freshwater Class, which operates between Circular Quay and Manly- 
Integration of visitor and transport information centres and visitor ticketing at prime visitor locations i.e. Circular Quay -
Extend WiFi access across the public transport network -

Customer Outcome 2: Greater access to more of NSW

Improving our global gateways

The number of international visitors to NSW is growing. Almost all of these visitors travel through one of our Global Gateway Cities. These Cities include Greater Sydney, Canberra and the Gold Coast/Tweed. They provide state level services and facilities to support a broad population catchment, while also having international connections through their airports and/or ports.

Existing Global Gateway airports at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, Canberra Airport, Gold Coast Airport, Brisbane Airport, Adelaide Airport and Melbourne Airport currently provide national and international connectivity for NSW. The NSW Government has contributed to Newcastle Airport’s investment in the facilities required to accept future international flights. The addition of the new Western Sydney Airport (WSA) at Badgerys Creek in 2026 to the NSW air network will provide a new full service domestic and international airport to meet growing visitor numbers and provide a new gateway to Greater Sydney’s Western Parkland City and the Blue Mountains. The NSW Government will continue to advocate for arrangements which are beneficial for regional air services during the development of the WSA.

Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport remains Australia’s number one international gateway.

Transport service and infrastructure improvements are easing access to this key international gateway. The NSW Government is upgrading roads around Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport to help improve traffic flow around the airport and Port Botany. The upgrades will also complement Sydney Airport’s upgrades to the internal road network. Improvements to public transport, walking and cycling connections will also improve access for staff and visitors alike.

The current Sydney Airport Master Plan includes a new Ground Transport interchange in the domestic terminal precinct to better facilitate bus, coach, walking and cycling connections. The NSW Government is working with Sydney Airport as it updates the Master Plan and we jointly prepare plans to better facilitate ground transport movements to and around the Airport.

Western Sydney Aaerotropolis

Western Sydney Airport is under construction at Badgerys Creek, south west of Liverpool. The
Airport will position Western Sydney as a true interstate and international destination and is
providing a catalyst for a new aerotropolis city in Western Sydney attracting aviation related
business by providing a gateway to the parklands, sporting and cultural facilities that Western
Sydney has on offer as well as the world heritage listed Blue Mountains. Ground transport
connections to Western Sydney will be critical in unlocking the potential of this once-in-ageneration
investment the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

The Airport will initially have a single 3.7 kilometre runway and will be a full-service airport
capable of handling the full range of international, domestic and freight aircraft. Western Sydney
Airport will be developed in stages and expand to cater for the growing Western Sydney
economy and population.

Around five million people are expected to use the airport in its first year of operation. This is
about the same number of annual passengers currently using the Gold Coast Airport. Based on
growth projections, Western Sydney Airport will cater to about 37 million annual passengers by
around 2050, almost the same number of annual passengers currently using Sydney’s Kingsford
Smith Airport. In the long term, Western Sydney Airport could cater for approximately 80 million
passengers per year.

Western Sydney Airport will drive tourism by:

  • Adding additional capacity in the Sydney basin to grow international and domestic tourism markets
  • Broadening the options within the Sydney basin for air travel
  • Stimulating local nature, sport and event-based tourism and infrastructure, including additional accommodation capacity in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Western Sydney City Deal will improve connections for visitors

The Australian and NSW governments, together with eight local government areas in Western Sydney, signed the Western Sydney City Deal on 4 March 2018.

The City Deal is a 20 year agreement between the three levels of government to deliver a once-in-a-generation transformation of Sydney’s outer west – creating the ‘Western Parkland City’.

A centrepiece commitment from the Australian and NSW governments is to deliver the first stage of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via Western Sydney Airport, with a joint objective of having rail connected to the Western Sydney Airport in time for its opening.

Work will immediately commence on a thorough design and investment case for the North South Rail Link as part of an integrated planning and city-shaping approach.

Other international capable airports

There is more we can do to improve links to other international capable airports that serve visitor destinations across NSW. This includes the Gold Coast, Canberra and Newcastle airports.

The Gold Coast Airport is a key international hub and provides visitors with direct access to many attractions on the NSW north coast. The NSW Government is preparing a Tweed Transport Network Plan (TTNP) that will determine the medium to long term staging plan for transport improvements in Tweed, including improved connections to the Gold Coast Airport. The TTNP is being prepared with the involvement of the Queensland Government and local councils. It will identify capital investment options (including potential light rail extensions) and other actions to improve cross state border public transport links.

Canberra Airport has commenced international services and will play an increasing role in serving international visitors to the Canberra region. The NSW Government’s South East and Tablelands Regional Plan 2036 estimates that by 2033, Canberra Airport will service one million international passengers per year, with an average of six international return flights per day and 4,431 international aircraft movements per year.

Newcastle Airport has recently completed upgrades enabling it to accept international flights. This was made possible with $855,000 from the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Planned improvements to transport connections around Newcastle Airport will allow better access for future international visitors.

Cruise ships

The cruise industry is a fast growing sector of the economy. Cruise ships are getting larger and calls are more frequent

The 2017 cruise season was the biggest ever in NSW. We welcomed 1.53 million passengers through our cruise terminals, with Sydney Harbour hosting 367 ship visit days by 50 different ships, including 10 maiden voyages. In 2017-18, 360 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Sydney, including eight maiden voyages. In 2016–17, international travellers on cruise ships spent more than 74,000 days in Australian ports, contributing 21,260 new jobs and $5.3 billion to the Australian economy9.

9 Cruise Development Plan

The opening of the Barangaroo Ferry Hub and Wynyard Walk has made ferry access to White Bay Cruise Terminal easier. We will expand the Eden wharf to accommodate larger cruise vessels. We will manage and facilitate the growth of the cruise industry by implementing a Cruise Development Plan based on the findings of the Cruise Industry Reference Group.

As well as Sydney, cruise ship visits are growing at the ports of Newcastle and Eden, supported by related investment leading to higher revenue and increased passenger and crew days. For example, the current value of cruising to the Hunter region has already been estimated at approximately $11 million per year and the NSW Government is contributing $12.9 million towards the construction of a Newcastle Cruise Terminal to enable further growth.

The NSW Government has also committed $32 million for the Eden Breakwater Wharf Extension Project. This will allow cruise ships to berth in Eden rather than relying on the current transfer of passengers via tender to the wharf.

The Cruise Development Plan includes actions to manage the cruise industry development in the short, medium and long term. At the same time, Transport for NSW will investigate options to facilitate better connections to cruise terminals.

Sydney Airport

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
The NSW Government is upgrading roads around Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport to help improve traffic flow around the airport and Port Botany. The upgrades will also complement Sydney Airport’s upgrades to the internal road network- 
Additional bus services to Rockdale and Mascot to improve connectivity to existing transport services accessing the Airport- 
New separated cycleway connections to Wolli Creek and Mascot stations for staff and visitors to the Sydney Airport precinct- 
Changes to the way train services operate on the Airport Line including increased frequency -

Improved cross Sydney public transport options, including the following routes outlined in Sydney’s Bus Future:

  • Suburban bus route between Bondi Junction and Burwood via Eastgardens and Airport
  • Suburban bus route between Chatswood and the Airport via Sydney CBD and Botany Road
  • Suburban bus route between Bondi Junction and Miranda via Airport and Eastgardens
Investigate opportunities provided by the planned ground transport interchange -
Work with Sydney Airport as the new Airport Master Plan is developed -

Western Sydney Aerotropolis

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Development of a business case for and design of the North South Rail Link to Western Sydney Aerotropolis as part of the Western Sydney City Deal- 

Other international capable airports

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Investigate options to provide better cross-border connections to Canberra including the extension of light rail from Canberra to Queanbeyan -
Improved ground transport connections to Newcastle Airport including road upgrades- 
Investigating options for better connections to Gold Coast Airport as part of the development of the Tweed Transport Network Plan -

Cruise ships

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Development of Barangaroo Ferry Terminal to facilitate ferry trips from White Bay to Barangaroo- 
$12.9m contribution to the construction of a dedicated cruise terminal in Newcastle- 
Investigation of an extension to the Newcastle Ferry services to connect to the new cruise terminal -
$32m contribution to extend Eden Breakwater Wharf to accommodate larger Cruise vessels- 
Work with the Port Authority of NSW to explore all options to maximise the number of passengers able to come into the Overseas Passenger Terminal, including the booking system -
Work with NSW Treasury and Department of Planning and Environment to investigate the use of Hayes Dock, Port Botany as an interim cruise terminal solution once a long-term solution is confirmed -
Work with the Port Authority of NSW, NSW Treasury and Department of Industry to prepare a strategic business case to assess the viability of two potential cruise terminal sites: Molineaux Point and Yarra Bay -
Work with the Port Authority continue to explore improvements to the operation of the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the White Bay Cruise Terminal and their transport connections so that they remain world-class cruise terminals -
Work with NSW Treasury, Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Department of Industry to investigate opportunities to remove regulatory barriers to entry for emerging cruise markets, including the expedition cruise market, and will seek an inter-jurisdictional policy position with other governments -

Support Destination NSW and cross-Government efforts to support the growth of the cruise industry in key NSW regions and potential emerging destinations through:

  • education and training programs to build the tourism industry capability to cater for cruise calls
  • supporting locally run ambassador programs
  • working with local government to explore ways to improve wayfinding at port facilities

Support Destination NSW and cross-Government efforts to build the profile and appeal of NSW as a leading cruise destination by reviewing funding options for a cooperative marketing fund that could be used for initiatives including:

  • data collection, acquisition and analysis
  • targeted trade (cruise industry) and consumer marketing programs in partnership with Destination NSW, regional destinations and the cruise industry

Connecting visitors to the regions

Regional NSW tourism has grown steadily in the last decade as visitors are drawn to our State’s diverse natural beauty, country hospitality and excellent food and wine. Rural and regional NSW welcomed 813,000 international visitors in the year to June 2017 for a total of 14.8 million nights and $1.1 billion of expenditure.

Regional NSW tourism expenditure was $16.3 billion in the twelve months to December 2017. The total number of visitors to regional NSW grew by 23 per cent from December 2010 to December 2017 or 3 per cent each year in compound annual growth terms. Rural and regional NSW welcomed 852,500 international visitors in the year to December 2017 for a total of 14.7 million nights and $1.04 billion of expenditure. By the end of 2020, it is projected that regional overnight visitor expenditure will reach $15.6 billion10.

More people visit NSW than any other state or territory in Australia. Visitors are increasingly seeking opportunities to experience NSW’s unique Aboriginal culture and history, while regional NSW hosts over 850 major sporting events. No other Australian state offers outback, country, alpine, coastal, and subtropical regions all within its borders. Cruise ship visits are growing, supported by related investment in the ports of Newcastle and Eden, leading to higher revenue and increased passenger and crew days.

We are re-thinking the way we plan and service regional destinations.

Previous regional planning has focused on the connections of regional centres and cities to Sydney. Whilst these connections will remain important, safe and efficient links within and between regions is considered just as important.

Providing better connections between regional cities will mean more options for visitors to access destinations across the state. This has the potential to grow the number of visitors spending more time experiencing more of what NSW has to offer.

Better connections using this hub and spoke approach means integrating long distance and short distance travel through timetabling and exploring the use of technology for more flexible on demand services for peak periods and events in regional areas. This could include same day return services to regional centres and broader regional tourism destinations.

Improving Regional Roads

The road network is the main way people visit regional destinations

The facilities along, and quality of, regional roads affect the visitor experience of travelling to regional destinations. Recent upgrades to the Pacific Highway have seen a significant increase in visitor numbers along the corridor.

New corridor strategies, regional road upgrades and improved signage to visitor destinations can further enhance the visitor experience, drive more visitors to local destinations and benefit local business.

Future mobility on our regional roads will be automated, connected, electric and shared. NSW’s future tourism vision embraces the opportunities possible with technological changes. These are rapidly transforming transport and customer experience, including the transition to automated, connected and electric vehicles, as well as new forms of shared mobility services, such as ride sharing, automated shuttles and on-demand transport services, providing convenient, comfortable and affordable mobility.

Electric vehicles are coming fast

A range of studies show that electric vehicle ownership rates are starting to increase significantly, due to cost reductions and advances in battery technology11 12 . Public charging points are critical for electric vehicle owners and hirers to be able to access all parts of the state and be confident in the regional touring market. In order to support the growing number of visitors driving electric vehicles, regions and tourist operators will need to plan for the provision of charging stations, particularly along major tourist routes.

Queensland’s Electric Vehicle Strategy (2017)13 notes the impacts of Electric Vehicles on its regional touring market and has committed to providing public charging points along its Electric Super Highway linking tourism destinations: “There is an inherent risk that if Queensland does not support the rollout of charging infrastructure, as interstate and SEQ motorists transition to EVs, they may choose not to travel to Queensland”.

In NSW, the importance of giving regions access to the growing market of visitors driving electric vehicles cannot be overstated. This will require planning and possible industry-government co-investment to establish charging infrastructure. In particular, fast public charging infrastructure is principally required to facilitate inter-city travel for trips greater than 150-250 km.

Tourist signposting

Self-guided drives and caravanning are the major way people visit regional destinations across NSW. Tourist drives showcase local destinations across NSW. They are a partnership with local councils, Roads and Maritime Services and Destination NSW. Signposting for regional tourist drives from the State road network has been progressively installed since 1991. Maintaining these drives has been the responsibility of councils. An audit of all drives currently signposted found that many of the tourist drive signs have been removed and not replaced.

A new approach is needed. The Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 2030 commits to a NSW Tourist Drives Strategy. The strategy will be jointly prepared by Roads and Maritime Services and Destination NSW and will consider a new partnership approach with councils to establish better mechanisms for ongoing maintenance of the signposting.

11 Bloomberg New Energy Finance “Electric Vehicle Outlook, 2018”
12 Energeia, Australian Electric Vehicle Market Study (report for ARENA and CEFC) 2018
13 The Future is Electric, Queensland’s Electric Vehicle Strategy, 2017

Trial of signage to promote bypassed towns

The NSW Government is trialling new signage on regional highways and motorways to encourage travellers to stop and visit bypassed towns in rural and regional NSW. The signs are a first for NSW and feature colour images which best depict the features of the bypassed towns. The purpose of the trial is to ascertain if bypassed town visitation can be maintained through innovative and purpose designed signage.

Roads and Maritime Services in consultation with Destination NSW has chosen Berry off the Princes Highway, Holbrook off the Hume Highway and Macksville off the new Pacific Highway to be involved in the pilot program. The program involves installing new signs on the Princes, Hume and Pacific Highways to alert drivers to the three bypassed towns and encourage them to stop and support the community. These three locations have been chosen as they represent towns that have been bypassed for some time (Holbrook), bypassed in the last six months (Berry) or recently bypassed (Macksville). Bypassed towns signs for Macksville were installed to coincide with the opening of the Macksville bypass to traffic. The signs for Berry were installed in early 2018 and the Holbrook signs were in time for the 2018 Easter holidays.

Roads and Maritime Services and Destination NSW will evaluate the effectiveness of the signs. If the trial signs are shown to be successful, we will consider rolling the initiative out more widely across the state.

Regional trains and coaches

Our regional trains and coaches enable visitors to reach most parts of NSW from small towns to regional centres. The next 10 years will see significant improvements to public transport services for visitors right across the State.

New regional trains provide an opportunity to increase services to regional destinations. Improvements to timetabling will give visitors better options to arrive at destinations during the day. We will:

  • Refocus the regional transport network to link towns with regional cities rather than being Sydney-focused
  • Investigate providing faster train services to the Central Coast, Newcastle, Canberra and Wollongong
  • Investigate reducing regional train journey times
  • Investigate convenient public transport arrival and departure times
  • Provide day return services to regional cities and centres.

Regional Air

Aviation will continue to be important in connecting people with visitor destinations in regional NSW. The interstate air routes that connect people with the holiday destinations of Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie are currently some of the busiest on the NSW air network. The establishment of a 24 hour international airport in Western Sydney will enhance access to regional NSW locations.

Our vision is for regional air passenger services to be part of an integrated and seamless journey for people living in, and also visiting regional NSW. Our immediate focus will be the development of the hub and spoke model for all regional transport modes through Regional Transport Plans and Place Plans. Regional aviation plays a role in this model by providing long distance connections between hubs for locals and visitors alike. We are committed to connecting public transport services with regional airports and considering timetabling, marketing and ticketing together as a holistic product in the next ten years.

We’re investing in the future of regional aviation now!

  • Regional air services play an essential foundation role in the economic development of regional cities, centres and towns. In recognition, the NSW Government has committed $70 million to a regional airports upgrade program through 27 projects at 22 regional airports to boost regional airport capacity and safety and increase their ability to attract visitors to regional NSW.
  • The projects include passenger terminal upgrades, improved lighting to support airport expansion, and expanding runways and aircraft parking to accommodate larger planes.
  • More than $9 million worth of projects have already been delivered including an extended runway apron area and upgrade terminal facilities in Coffs Harbour, completed in December 2017. Ballina airport has received funding from the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund for an expansion in recognition of its growing importance as an entry point to the North Coast region, with passenger numbers at over 510,000 per annum. The remaining projects are in various stages of design and construction with final completion of all projects currently forecast as being completed by 2019.
  • The NSW Government will continue to consider investment proposals in multi-use regional aviation infrastructure on a case by case basis through the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Funds announced in the 2017/18 budget. All proposals are required to be consistent with recently developed Regional Economic Development Strategies and assessed on merit against clear criteria to demonstrate benefit for regional NSW.

Improving links to national parks, historic, artistic and cultural sites and events

Nature based tourism is a large and growing sector and is a major reason for travel to regional NSW. Many visitor attractions across the State are places of heritage value. Cultural and artistic sites and events are attracting more visitors each year. The NSW Government is exploring opportunities to improve nature-based, cultural and heritage tourism, particularly in regional NSW.

National parks cover nine per cent of NSW and generate more than $11 billion per year in expenditure, enabling hundreds of small to medium businesses to operate across the state. Over the past two years, national parks have seen a 30 per cent increase in visitation.

National parks in the Sydney basin provide valuable open space and recreational opportunities for a growing number of residents and visitors. Transport infrastructure and services are needed to accommodate this growth.

Regional NSW national parks have seen significant growth in visitor numbers where transport has been improved. For example, upgrades to the Pacific Highway corridor have contributed to a 70 percent increase in visitation in the North Coast region.

Improved visitor access to national parks, historic, artistic and cultural sites and events could enable the further growth of nature-based, cultural and heritage tourism.

Supporting tourism to Jenolan Caves

One of the most significant historical locations in NSW is the World Heritage listed Jenolan Caves in Oberon. Established as a conservation area in the early 1800s, the Jenolan Caves now attract over 230,000 visitors annually.

In 2018, the NSW Government announced an $8.5 million upgrade to this long established, world-class visitor destination. This will include improvements to the visitors’ centre, and upgrades to paths and the creation of longer walking tracks to encourage visitors to extend their stay.

The improvements include a walkway and a viewing platform to be built near the famous Blue Lake, coloured by water flowing from the caves, to protect a platypus family.

Once the new facilities are complete, it is estimated there will be an increase of 160,000 day visitors to the caves each year. The new facilities and walking trail will also encourage more overnight visitors to the Blue Mountains and Central West region.

The Future Transport 2056 Regional NSW Service and Infrastructure Plan sets out two initiatives in the next decade that will support access to Jenolan Caves. The first is to upgrade the corridor along the Great Western and Mitchell Highways between the western end of the Blue Mountains at Mount Victoria, to better connect and support the regional cities and centres of Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange. This upgrade will include safety measures identified from the Safe System design principles for corridor planning. The second initiative is to investigate better inland NSW connections.

Regional Roads initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Improve the number and quality of rest areas for visitors in regional areas, including accessible facilities- 
Improvements to major visitor roads including the Monaro Highway and Snowy Mountain Highway -
First and last mile road network improvements for regional visitor destinations -
Main/High street improvements in regional towns -

Tourist signposting initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Support Destination NSW to prepare a Tourist Drive Strategy and supporting marketing campaign to increase regional overnight visitors and expenditure -
Evaluate outcomes of bypassed towns signage pilot and roll out to further bypassed towns if shown to be successful -
Work with Destination NSW to streamline the signposting application process and enhance tourist drive and maritime signposting in regional NSW and Greater Sydney -

Regional trains and coaches initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
A new regional NSW fleet will replace the ageing XPT, Xplorer and Endeavour trains for passengers who travel between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and major regional centres- 
A new fleet of long distance, intercity trains from Sydney to the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the South Coast- 
Update Sydney CBD Coach Strategy to reflect changing development and transport networks as well as determine coach parking requirements throughout the Sydney CBD and in key visitor precincts and around hotels -

Regional air initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
The NSW Government has committed $70 million for upgrades to 27 regional airport projects that will boost their capacity and safety and increase their ability to attract visitors to regional NSW- 
Work with Commonwealth Government and airport operators to facilitate regional flight connections to Kingsford Smith Airport and Western Sydney Airport -
Support Newcastle, Canberra and Gold Coast airports increasing international services -
Integrate regional air services with our regional passenger transport network -

Improving links to nature based tourism, heritage, artistic and cultural sites and events initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Improve connections to national parks, heritage sites, artistic and cultural sites from key visitor gateways like regional airports and cruise terminals -
Upgrade wharf infrastructure to access island parks including the Sydney Harbour Islands -
Link transport packaging to events including cultural and artistic events and those hosted in national parks such as mountain bike championships -
More regular public transport to some of the most visited heritage sites, artistic sites, cultural sites and national parks around Sydney to reduce and manage road congestion -
Increase signage to national park, heritage, cultural and artistic destinations along main roads, aligned to a broader Tourist Drives Strategy -
Coordinate road safety upgrades and road sealing at entry and exit points of national park, heritage, cultural and artistic destinations near high speed roads -
Regional cycling connections to national parks, heritage, cultural and artistic destinations -
Links with operators to improve accessible tourism to national parks, heritage, cultural and artistic destinations -

Improving services

Boosting services to visitor destinations across NSW

On Sydney Harbour, the new Cross Harbour ferry route will link popular visitor locations from Watsons Bay to Barangaroo and Pyrmont to enable visitors to reach many of Sydney’s top attractions whilst enjoying a spectacular journey. We will continue to add more public transport services to popular areas in Greater Sydney to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to enjoy them.

More Trains, More Services across greater Sydney

The NSW Government will invest more than $1.5 billion over the next three years on the More Trains, More Services program which will boost capacity through hundreds of extra services, better infrastructure and new trains for Sydney.

We are adding more than 750 new train services to our weekend timetable, bringing Sydney more in line with public transport offerings in other global cities during off peak times.

Already there are more than 4,000 additional seats on Blue Mountains trains every weekend with a doubling of capacity on six weekend Blue Mountains services from four to eight carriages. An additional 24 new express services between Sydney and the Blue Mountains are planned on weekends. Dedicated eight-car express tourist trains will cut travel times by around 20 minutes.

Supporting the late night economy

The visitor economy operates all day, every day. Opportunities to connect visitors to a wide range of experiences, whether on short or long stays, requires transport services to be available for both visitors and tourist businesses alike. For example, the Western Sydney Airport will offer 24/7 operations and will need to be serviced by efficient transport links for both employees at the airport and co-located businesses as well as travellers. Similarly, cruise ships can berth out of hours and frequently have short stopovers. Visitors expect to access retail and leisure activities with minimal travelling time.

Public transport enables visitors to enjoy our nightlife and special events by letting someone else do the driving.

The NSW Government is committed to growing a vibrant, safe and strong night-time economy for residents and visitors to Sydney, Newcastle and other large regional cities. We will enhance our night bus network adding new routes and services especially on Friday and Saturday nights. We will enable 24/7 public transport access to Sydney Airport with two overnight bus routes. We will provide more frequent public transport services to major events. Late night bus services will be integrated with point to point services to provide ‘last mile’ travel.

Boosting services to visitor destinations across NSW

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Sydney Ferries Summer timetable - additional services to help customers get to key destinations across Sydney Harbour during the busy summer peak period- 
New Cross-Harbour ferry route that connects key visitor destinations- 
Service improvements on bus routes that serve visitor destinations like the Northern Beaches B-line, which will provide more frequent services with double deck buses that will provide great views from the top deck- 
Additional train services to the Blue Mountains on weekends and peak visitor times- 
Improve connections/services in off peak, weekend, and public holiday periods -
Further analysis of where visitors like to go and whether there are enough services to cater for growth -
Aligning services to meet and drive demand for key visitor demand as new train, coach and ferry fleets come on line -
Improvements to information, wayfinding and public transport services to top ten tourism destinations in Sydney and regional NSW -
Work with all regional airline, coach, ferry and train operators to meet and drive demand for visitor destinations across the state -
Extend NSW TrainLink service frequency to regional visitor destinations -

Supporting the late night economy

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation

New, extended or enhanced all-night bus services on the following routes as part of the Growth Services Plan:

  • Route 400 Burwood to Bondi Junction via Sydney Airport
  • Route 423 Kingsgrove to City via Earlwood and Newtown
  • Route N20 Riverwood to City via Rockdale, Sydney Airport and Green Square
  • Route N81 Parramatta to City via Sydney Olympic Park and Wentworth Point (Thursday-Saturday only)
  • Route N91 Bondi Junction to Macquarie Park via Kings Cross, City and Chatswood
Extend late night public transport services for workers and visitors – particularly on Friday/Saturday nights -
Integrate service where late night bus customers can link with a point to point service for last mile home -
Increase frequency of public transport services to precincts and key attractors for mid to large sized sports/entertainment/cultural/night events -
Precinct traffic management on Friday and Saturday nights in busy late night precincts -

Customer Outcome 3: Making transport the attraction

Transport not only gets visitors to destinations, but can also be an attraction in itself.

Visitors consider riding a ferry or bicycle as some of the top activities to do while in NSW to experience the place they are travelling in. There are opportunities to use technology to create interactive experiences that highlight and provide information about destinations along transport routes.

Creating places with our transport assets

The NSW Transport cluster of agencies holds many assets that have potential to improve the visitor destination experience and better support the visitor economy.

Interchange upgrades across the state are providing better experiences for public transport customers by delivering accessible, modern, secure and integrated transport infrastructure.

Transport for NSW is also unlocking underutilised assets for use by the Tourism sector. Ferry wharves in Sydney Harbour are now open to tourism operators and investigations are underway to open up other assets across the transport network.

Recent public transport interchange upgrades have incorporated public art into the design. For example, the WynScreen artistic innovation delivered as a part of the Wynyard Walk project which has created a new artistic destination in the heart of Sydney.

Creating places with our transport assets

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
More than 20 interchanges currently being upgraded across NSW- 
Sharing ferry wharves in Sydney Harbour with tourism operators- 
NSW Boating Now – recreational boating infrastructure delivery program- 
Re-purpose regional train stations and rail assets that are not being used for transport in ways that contribute to great places (e.g. for heritage/food and coffee/arts, screen and cultural facilities/entertainment tourism/rail trails) -
New regional coach terminal at Central Station -
Improvements to key visitor attractor interchanges like Overseas Passenger Terminal and regional hub interchanges -
Investigate embedding public art into the design of future transport assets and upgrades -

Central Station

Central Station is a key transport hub in the NSW transport network. Over the next decade, it will have an even greater role with CBD and South East Light Rail and Sydney Metro connecting with existing suburban and intercity trains, coaches, buses and the Inner West Light Rail.

The NSW Government is developing a vision and plan for the Central Station precinct, focusing on improving the interchange experience for our customers and better integrating Central with surrounding recreational, business, residential and educational areas.

In 2018, construction will start on Central Walk, a 19-metre wide tunnel from Chalmers Street, linking the new metro platforms under Central. This is the start of Central’s renewal, bringing new entrances and simpler interchanges to make life easier for customers.

Further development ideas are being considered as part of the strategic framework for the wider Central Precinct. This framework will investigate opportunities and constraints following consultation with our customers and the community undertaken in 2017. In addition to providing a high quality interchange experience, our focus will be on creating quality urban design, providing new retail and other commercial services, respecting heritage and making Central Station a great place.

Growing transport as tourism

Great rail journeys

Our railways are increasingly popular as visitor experiences in their own right. Transport for NSW provides funding to Transport Heritage NSW to run heritage rail tours and to support other operators in the sector.

Overnight sleeper services have become an iconic way to explore the country. The Indian Pacific train provides a sleeper service between Sydney and Perth, operating from Sydney’s Central Station and passing some of the most scenic countryside in NSW. The new regional rail fleet will bring strong potential to grow this market within NSW.

The Byron Bay Railroad Company operates the world’s first solar powered train on the disused railway line between Byron Bay CBD and North Byron.

Regional bicycle tourism

NSW has a vast 3,100 kilometres of non-operational rail lines that can be redeveloped with innovative initiatives to produce social and economic benefits for regional NSW.

In regional NSW, disused rail corridors are being considered for conversion into rail trails where there are viable positive outcomes and strong community support.

The first rail trail will run from Tumbarumba to Rosewood, in the picturesque Snowy Valleys Way, an already popular tourism destination.

Conversion of the 22-kilometre disused rail track, into a sealed and smooth bitumen path, will be ideal for a variety of recreational pursuits, suitable for all ages and abilities, while helping to preserve the natural environment and local heritage, and supporting local communities.

More than 300 local walking and cycling projects are delivered in partnership with councils across NSW each year including the Cycling Towns Program which is completing cycling networks in regional towns and providing cycleway signage to benefit visitors and residents. Recent cycling towns include Forster-Tuncurry and Orange.

Rail trails

Rail trails unlock scenic public land in regional areas offering visitors and local residents a safe option to walk, cycle, jog or use other non-motorised forms of transport such as horse riding. The economic benefit of rail trails includes the creation of jobs in local communities and other economic benefits for local businesses associated with tourism such as increase expenditure on accommodation, food and participation in regional events.

In June 2015, the NSW Government announced $4.9 million funding for the Rosewood to Tumbarumba Rail Trail pilot project. The proponent demonstrated effective community consultation, a viable operating model and the ability to generate economic benefits.

In June 2017, the NSW Government passed the Transport Administration Amendment (Closure of Railway Line between Rosewood and Tumbarumba) Act 2017, which has allowed the development of the Rosewood to Tumbarumba rail trail.

This pilot rail trail project is providing the opportunity to both identify the full range of tourism and recreational opportunities presented by rail trails and also clarify and address issues such as biosecurity and privacy related to the establishment of rail trails on disused rail corridors in NSW.

The NSW Government retains ownership of the public land associated with rail trail development, therefore preserving the rail corridor for re-opening in the future should it be required.


With so many beautiful and diverse harbours, estuaries, inlets and lakes dotted along the coast, NSW has the potential to be a prime destination for boating based holidays.

In many coastal, riverside and lakeside communities, particularly in regional areas, boating is an important driver of tourism growth, with visitors attracted to a range of recreational activities on the water in NSW including boating, fishing and yachting. There are 25 regional costal ports and over 700 boat ramps in NSW.

As of 30 June 2017, there were nearly 240,000 recreationally registered vessels and 10,000 commercial vessels in NSW. Recreational and commercial activities on our waterways contribute an estimated $2.7 billion to the state economy and employ an estimated 8,000 people.

This includes a range of commercial hospitality, tourism and charter boat operators who supply many of the experiences that NSW waterways have to offer, such as fishing and dive charters, whale and dolphin watching, bare boat charters and hire and drive.

This maritime industry – alongside other recreational and commercial users of NSW waterways – is supported by significant NSW Government maritime infrastructure investment, which supports the NSW visitor economy and the revitalisation of foreshores that will encourage further growth of tourism.

A large proportion of ferry customers are also visitors, with 15 million ferry journeys in NSW each year, servicing tourism hubs such as Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Manly.

Improving our boating infrastructure

Boating related tourism activity is an important part of the NSW visitor economy, particularly in regional areas throughout the State. Every year tens of thousands of keen boaters tow their vessel up or down the coast for a weekend or week away to go fishing or just to enjoy many of the State’s coastal and inland waterways. Other boaters sail or cruise along the NSW coast to visit another waterway within a day’s sail. Non-boating tourists are also attracted to our magnificent waterways and often include a day out on the water as part of their travels, whether on a ferry at Port Stephens, a whale watching charter vessel from Eden or a fishing charter from Coffs Harbour.

To provide safe access to the State’s waterways, and thereby support all forms of boating related tourism, the NSW Government makes a significant investment in boat ramp upgrades, new and upgraded wharves and jetties, boat harbours, dredging, or through investment and maintenance of breakwaters and river training walls to provide protection from the ocean at key entrance points. Much of this foreshore infrastructure, such as the boat harbours and wharves, provides a focal point for all communities to gather and socialise and for development of hospitality and tourism services which also make a significant contribution to local communities, particularly in regional towns.

Great rail journeys

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
TfNSW provides funding to Transport Heritage NSW to run heritage rail tours and to support other operators in the sector- 
Tourist trains - connect with tourist operators to have organised tours using trains - designated carriage for groups with interpreter- 
Open underutilised assets for tourism related uses like rail trails or tourist trains -

Regional bicycle tourism initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Cycling Towns - NSW Government investment completing cycling networks in regional centres: Cycling now drawing visitors to Forster- Tuncurry and Orange- 
State-wide walking and cycling programs delivering more than 300 local projects across NSW each year- 
Tumbarumba Rail Trail pilot being delivered as part of the $110m Regional Tourism Infrastructure fund- 
Space for bike carriage part of the procurement requirements for new NSW regional trains -
Expand the tourism fund for cycling touring infrastructure (including rail trails) -
Facilitate bicycle parking/hire facilities in key visitor locations -

Boating initiatives

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
NSW Boating Now - recreational boating infrastructure delivery program upgrading boating facilities across the state- 
Investigate cross-government opportunities for a more strategic approach to Maritime Infrastructure investment -

Customer Outcome 4: A seamless experience

Our collaboration and partnerships with transport service providers, tourism operators, across Government and with local councils all work to create a seamless experience for visitors.

Packaging experiences

New service models will enable transport service providers to package their services with destination experiences.

Mobility as a Service

Transport for NSW will investigate ways to support the emergence of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) models that can be tailored to the needs of visitor groups or individuals. MaaS is a service model that enables customers to plan and pay for their journeys using a range of services via a single customer interface. It has the potential to enable customers to access integrated, easy-to-understand journeys in a broad market of transport services. In a fully operational service model, the MaaS provider would sell seamless multimodal journeys, offer convenient payment methods such as subscription services, and communicate directly with customers.

These transport options could include not just public transport but point to point services (for example taxi, ride share and bicycle share) and can be bundled with other visitor experiences, like events. Access to this technology will be enabled in more locations in regional NSW through the NSW Government’s partnership with the Australian Government and mobile phone carriers to eliminate up to 795 mobile black spots across the State14.

Servicing events, festivals and peak holiday times

Events, festivals and peak holiday periods bring many visitors to NSW and improve the performance of the tourism industry for the benefit of the wider community.

Getting visitors to their destinations presents transport and coordination challenges. Transport for NSW coordinates with Destination NSW and event managers to facilitate access to upcoming events and provide regional event support. This includes organising additional public transport services during major events like Vivid Sydney and special services to get to regional events like the annual Elvis Express train to the Parkes Elvis Festival and the Broken Heel Festival.

The Transport Management Centre has responsibility for safely managing travel to major events.

Its role is to:

  • ensure the safe separation of event patrons, participants and volunteers from traffic
  • manage the reduced capacity of the road system
  • minimise the traffic impact on the non-event community and the emergency services, and
  • minimise costs.

We recognise there is more we can do to better coordinate for events, festivals and peak holiday periods and welcome feedback on how we could do this.

Event Signage

Transport for NSW has developed a system of pink signage to support visitors to use public transport between major events.

The pink signage system is designed as a temporary response to assist customers navigating the transport network when changes to their journey occur due to a major event or major transport disruption.

Integrating tourism into transport planning

Delivering and coordinating with partners in the tourism and transport industries, local government and NSW Government agencies is needed to ensure a seamless experience for visitors and further grow the visitor economy.

Creating attractive and vibrant places that are well connected to the transport network will also help boost tourism. A recent example is the plan to upgrade Circular Quay where a decision was made to leverage Government investment to unlock private capital. This will allow a whole-ofprecinct renewal that includes retail, dining and entertainment attractions as well as a modern transport interchange.

It is important that tourism needs are incorporated into transport planning as visitors are not accustomed to our transport facilities. This ensures services will be easier to use. Tourism and special events are considered in the design and operation of new infrastructure such as the CBD and South East Light Rail Project. Planning for the renewal of Circular Quay will incorporate heritage values and tourism needs. We will keep Sydney open for business during construction of transport infrastructure by planning, wayfinding and working with businesses and tourism operators. We will improve access to regional train stations with coaches, local buses and point to point services.

Packaging experiences

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Investigate ways to support the emergence of Mobility as a Service models that can be tailored to the needs of visitor groups or individuals, including destination products -

Servicing events, festivals and peak holiday times

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Sponsorship of major events can include transport as part of the event ticket- 
Transport management for major events includes additional public transport services- 
Sydney Ferries Vivid timetable - additional services to ensure customers can enjoy Vivid from Sydney Harbour and vantage points around the harbour- 
Cooperative campaigns with MojoSurf under a formal MOU (including exclusive fares for MojoSurf customers on regional trains)- 
Elvis Express special train - Special themed service to/from Parkes Elvis Festival annually, packed with event offers- 
Regional event support - negotiated exclusive fares and capacity on selected services to identified regional events (eg: Orange Food Train, Port Macquarie Beatles Festival, Bathurst 1000, Newcastle 500, Tamworth Country Music Festival)- 
Manage on-water aspects of major aquatic events like New Year’s Eve and the Sydney to Hobart- 
Roll out holiday ‘park and ride’ at more holiday destinations -
Increased frequency of public transport services to precincts for mid to large sized sports/entertainment/cultural events -
Mini buses to regional events -

Integrating tourism into transport planning

 0-10 years committed0-10 years for investigation
Tourism and events considered in the operation of new infrastructure like the CBD and South East Light Rail- 
Planning of Circular Quay precinct renewal incorporating tourism needs- 
Keeping Sydney open for business alongside construction disruption: events planning, signage and wayfinding, working with coaches and hotels- 
Increase transport services to serve peak visitor demand in regional areas and on Sydney Harbour -
Ease congestion resulting from conflict between pedestrian visitors and commuters at prime visitor attractors e.g. Circular Quay and CBD stations -
Precinct Masterplans with integrated services (tourism, transport, services and amenities, etc), coordinated across all levels of Government -
Improve relationships with regional councils/tourist operators -
In outer metro and regional rail stations, TfNSW to partner with car hire/car share companies to offer vehicles for visitor use. -

Collaboration and partnerships

The Future Transport Strategy and Plans introduce new ways of problem solving that fit within our vision-led approach to planning. One of the key differences in this new approach, compared with more traditional methods, is that the NSW Government sets a vision and outcomes across several agencies even before we start identifying problems. This gives us a clear picture about the outcomes we want for our customers and the community and lets us identify obstacles to realising these outcomes.

A key feature of this approach is co-design – a high level of collaboration and decision making. From the first stages of planning we will engage all levels of government, customers and industry, to test our understanding of problems and harness their innovation to develop the best possible solutions.

In developing solutions, we are also using a new approach based on intensively testing problems from a customer perspective – understanding what drives their preferences, and impacts their travel experiences.

We will build new collaborative partnerships with customers, the community and industry as we continue to improve the way we deliver the infrastructure and services to support the visitor economy.

Destination Networks

In 2016, Destination NSW established six Destination Networks across NSW. These Destination Networks facilitate visitor economy growth at the local level, through representing and co-ordinating the region’s tourism industry. Each Destination Network has a Destination Management Plan which includes initiatives that the NSW Transport cluster of agencies can support.

Destination North Coast

The NSW North Coast is the third biggest tourism region in Australia and comprises the costal centres east of the Great Dividing Range from Tweed Heads to Hawks Nest. In the year ending June 2017, there were 19.9 million domestic and 3.6 million international overnight stays in the region.

The North Coast Destination Management Plan identifies seven experience platforms to drive and coordinate tourism product experience development across the North Coast over the next four years. Nature experiences differentiate the North Coast from other coastal regions and are the key focus of the Destination Management Plan. The seven experience platforms for the North Coast are:

  1. Nature experiences
  2. Caravan and Camping
  3. Food and Local Produce
  4. Arts, Heritage and Aboriginal Tourism
  5. Events
  6. Health, Wellbeing and Alternative Lifestyles
  7. Business Events.

A key transport priority for the North Coast is the need for critical road infrastructure and improved signage to better facilitate these experiences. The NSW Transport cluster also has a role to play in working with Destination North Coast and other agencies to encourage regional dispersal – including the development of trails and touring routes. The North Coast Destination Network intends to develop a Bike Tourism Strategy for the North Coast.

Destination Country and Outback

The Destination Network Country and Outback is a diverse area that covers 61.2 per cent of NSW. It comprises Outback NSW, New England and North West, Greater Western Plains and Country NSW. In 2017 overnight visitor expenditure within the Country and Outback Destination Network area totalled $2.6 billion, with a compounding annual rate of growth of four percent since 2008.

The Country and Outback Destination Management Plan takes a strategic approach to maintaining existing tourism markets while also targeting new higher-value markets. The Plan identifies seven strategic themes which highlight the points of difference of the region compared with other destinations and provide a high-level experience framework:

  1. Celebrating Culture on Country
  2. Wine-lovers and Foodie Finds
  3. Unlimited Horizons
  4. Exploring our Nature
  5. Revealing our Heritage
  6. Little Places, Big Stories
  7. Events and Conferences.

The NSW Transport cluster can help to enable local level initiatives that will underpin these themes through:

  • The infrastructure and road signage to develop experientially-led touring routes and signage and facilitating travel
  • Promotion and access to events, festivals and destinations in the region.

Destination Southern NSW

Destination Southern NSW stretches from the South Coast of NSW to the Snowy Monaro and across to the Canberra Region Tablelands. Total income from tourism across the region is almost $1.6 billion per year supporting 2,630 tourism businesses. There is growing interest in cycling, adventure and nature based activities in the region as well as self-drive holidays.

The Southern NSW Destination Management Plan identifies five game-changer projects that will lead to growing the visitor economy for the region:

  1. Savour the Southern activation
  2. Regional approach to Drive Tourism and cross-regional linking products
  3. Experience and product development
  4. Building destination appeal supported by itineraries and product clusters
  5. Support for events.

Transport has a key role to play in enabling these projects through improving visitor access and flows through the region by improving connectivity in road infrastructure and enabling the development of three rail trails identified in the Destination Management Plan.

Destination Riverina Murray

The Riverina Murray Destination network comprises the Snowy Valleys, Albury-Hume, Riverina regional centres and the food bowls of Griffith and Wagga Wagga, Central Murray towns of Cowra, Echuca and Deniliquin and the outback Riverina with strong cross-border connections. In 2017 the Riverina Murray region attracted 5.3 million visitors. Daytrip visitors comprised 55 percent of visitors to the region (2.9 million) and overnight visitors comprised 45 percent (2.3 million).The Riverina Murray Destination Management Plan projects a growth to 8.6 million visitor nights in the region by 2031.

The Riverina Murray Destination Management Plan identifies nine overarching strategic development themes to harness the tourism opportunities of the region:

  1. Major Centre Development
  2. Nature-Based Tourism
  3. Rivers and waterways
  4. Food and Agritourism
  5. Major touring routes
  6. Sport and Recreation
  7. Festivals and Events
  8. Accommodation
  9. Infrastructure and Servicing.

The NSW Transport cluster has a role to play in supporting these directions through placemaking, boating infrastructure, servicing events and festivals and highway upgrades and signage to support rationalised touring routes for targeted investment and promotion. The Destination Management Plan looks to establish the Snowy Valleys as the rail trail region of NSW and identifies five rail trails for ongoing support including the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Pilot Rail Trail currently under development.

Destination Sydney Surrounds North

Destination Sydney Surrounds North includes the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Central Coast and Hunter regions. In 2017 the area generated $4.07 billion in visitor expenditure equating to 12.3 percent of the NSW visitor economy.

The Sydney Surrounds North Destination Management Plan identifies seven strategic priorities:

  1. Advocate for the local Visitor Economy and foster greater collaboration between regions within the area
  2. Facilitate destination infrastructure development
  3. Facilitate product and experience development
  4. Facilitate major events and conference growth
  5. Maximise the benefits of regional tourism funding programs
  6. Facilitate industry skills development and knowledge
  7. Improve destination marketing effectiveness.

The NSW Transport cluster can help achieve these priorities through:

  • Improved public transport connections
  • Place-making enhancements on main streets to contribute to revitalisation of destination
  • Improved road connections through mountains to provide better connections to nature based activities
  • Improvements to cycle paths to enable food and wine, nature and soft adventure activities (particularly in the Hunter).

Destination Sydney Surrounds South

Destination Sydney Surrounds South comprises the Illawarra, Wollondilly, Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven. In 2017 $1.77 billion was injected by overnight visitors into the local economy with an average annual growth rate of four percent since 2013.

The Sydney and Surrounds South Destination Management Plan establishes six strategic imperatives:

  1. Cohesive Destination Management
  2. Destination Infrastructure
  3. Collaborative Destination Marketing
  4. Product and Experience Development
  5. Events and Conferencing
  6. Industry Skills Development.

The NSW Transport cluster can help achieve these priorities through:

  • Improved public transport and road connections from Sydney
  • Assistance with the development of cycleway infrastructure including the planned Mittagong to Moss Vale cycleway
  • Progressing improved rail connections from South West Sydney.

Local councils

Councils across NSW work with local tourism operators to develop better products and experiences for visitors to their regions. Transport for NSW has partnered with councils to develop local transport services, policy, signage and information. Tourism road signage across NSW is a collaborative effort between Roads and Maritime Services, Destination NSW and councils.

The Transport cluster will continue to work to strengthen collaboration with councils across NSW.

Diversifying transport options to expand tourism in the Snowy Mountains and South Coast

Snowy-Monaro Regional Council (SMRC) is a newly formed Council that covers a large area in the strategic corridor between Canberra-Queanbeyan and the NSW South Coast. Within this region is one of Australia’s marquee tourism destinations: the Snowy Mountains. The region attracts 1.2 million visitors annually with the vast majority relying on private vehicle trips. In the winter months the influx of visitors can cause major traffic delays and the council is investigating and implementing strategies to increase non-winter tourism in the region to make the Snowy Mountains a year round destination.

NSW Train Link operates regional coach services connecting people to key locations around the region including Jindabyne, Cooma, Tumut, Tumbarumba, Berridale, Dalgety and Bombala. Connections in the region between Canberra Airport and the Port of Eden to major visitor destinations will support growth of the visitor economy in the region.

Transport for NSW will continue to work together with council to investigate new options for transport to safely accommodate growing visitor numbers within the region throughout the year.

Honouring Aboriginal connection to the land

In looking four decades ahead, Future Transport 2056 acknowledges the more than 40,000 years of continuous Aboriginal connection to the land that has brought NSW to where it is today. Future Transport 2056 supports OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility and Empowerment), the NSW Government’s plan to improve outcomes for Aboriginal peoples. Future Transport 2056 also acknowledges the special role to be played by the transport sector in strengthening Aboriginal communities. By forging partnerships with Aboriginal communities, new initiatives can be identified that will bring more Aboriginal people into the business of tourism and transport and share in the economic and other benefits of the State’s growth.