Byron Bay Tallow Beach and lighthouse
Byron Bay Tallow Beach and lighthouse David Nielsen

Tourism body a boost for Byron

BYRON Shire finally has a tourism umbrella group tipped to give the local industry greater co-ordination and clout, including access to government funding for new infrastructure.

After months of consultation, the Visitor Industry Association Byron, to be known as VIA Byron, has been formed.

It includes representatives from Northern Rivers Tourism, the local chambers of commerce, the council, Byron and Brunswick visitor centres and the Ocean Shores Community Association.

VIA Byron vice-president John Gudgeon said it would be the first time there was an overarching management body to look after all tourism interests in the shire instead of everyone doing their own thing.

"VIA Byron brings all parties to the table to have input into areas such as marketing, product development, destination planning, visitor servicing and IT/web services," Mr Gudgeon said.

VIA Byron will take up one of two new memberships for the Byron local government area on the newly formed North Coast Destination Network - the new regional tourism body that represents the area from Tweed Heads to Port Stephens.

VIA Byron president Cameron Arnold said as the chair of Northern Rivers Tourism he was aware of what Byron Shire was missing without an umbrella tourism group.

"VIA Byron satisfied the need of the state and federal governments to have an efficient, integrated mechanism to address and interact with the visitor and tourism economy," Mr Arnold said.

"One of VIA Byron's first tasks will be to plan how to spend State Government funding for a marketing campaign targeting international markets, friends and family, and event promotion, Mr Arnold said.