A new era for Tweed tourism is about to begin
BRAD Nardi clearly has his eyes set on the future of Tweed Shire, as he begins his new role as general manager for the region's new tourism board.
After Queensland-based company DR Tourism was awarded the four-year Tweed Shire Council contract for tourism promotion in July, the Tweed Tourism Company was established to provide a platform for local tourism operators to showcase the region to the world.
Born and bred in Byron Bay, with family connections in Murwillumbah, Mr Nardi is heading back to the Tweed to use his wealth of industry knowledge and experience.
He has spent the past five years on the Fraser Coast in various tourism roles, including tourism director for the region.
Having only been in the job since Tuesday, Mr Nardi said he's excited to meet with tourism operators across the region and start creating an overall vision for the direction of Tweed tourism.
"Local industry is going to be hearing from us, and that's not necessarily speaking in front of a room but it's about sitting down and engaging with them to find out what their booking cycles are and what type of people are coming through their business," he said.
"We'll look at whether that's correct for the future, whether it's sustainable or whether they want to move in a different direction.
"There are fantastic products in this area, and as a destination marketing agent I've been around more than long enough to tell you that any region can design a pretty ad but if it hasn't got entrepreneurial businesses and really creative people working behind it then we're not going to have people come here.
"My main goal is to make Tweed the best-promoted region in New South Wales and perhaps Australia."
As tourism is one of the biggest employers on the Tweed, Mr Nardi said it was imperative for the success of the region that a good relationship was formed between the council, Tweed Tourism Company and industry operators.
"This is our local council saying tourism is important to us and we want a bit of structure behind it and be organised by an organisation who engage with local industry and promote the place, so we are harnessing and getting the right types of tourists coming through," Mr Nardi said.
"It's really saying that we have a visitor economy here that's really assisting our economic driving importance for the area. Our visitors are coming in and we've got a role to assist them coming in but once they're here those businesses on the ground are the one delivering the experiences.
"We're trying to get them as a collective to promote the Tweed."
Having been instrumental in some key Fraser Coast Tourism achievements, including the sinking of ex-HMAS Tobruk in 2016, Brad said he was excited to return home and was energised by the growth of the region.
"It's been 15 years since I was based here but the nostalgia of being able to go out to the Uki pub for lunch last weekend and driving through Tumbulgum is great," he said.
"The development of the coastline is incredible as well. I've got a lot of friends who are moving here to start businesses, and it proves that Tweed is the place to be.
"Moving back here (I can see) everything from the agri-tourism to the nature, there's some real opportunities for driving this region forward."