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Visitor economy customer outcomes

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 committed 0-10 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 committed 0-10 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 committed 0-10 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 committed 0-10 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   -

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

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