What is the Byron Shire Sustainable Visitation Strategy (SVS) 2020 - 2030 ?

    The Byron Shire Sustainable Visitation Strategy 2020 – 2030 (SVS) is a plan that will present a renewed vision, objectives and actions that aim to maximise benefits to Byron Shire’s environment, community, culture and business; and minimise negative impacts of over-tourism on our community.

    Community engagement to inform the plan commences in early 2019 with a draft plan due for public exhibition by September 2019 and a final report expected by November 2019.

    Why do we need an SVS?

    Byron Shire has a history of over 100 years as a tourism destination. Given the volume of visitors to the Shire, it is imperative that tourism is maintained and enhanced as an economic driver for the local economy, but planned and managed in a sustainable way to enhance and conserve the natural environment, protect the well-being of the Shire’s residents and attract visitors with shared values. Additionally, the increasing number of visitors to the shire impacts the environment, culture, infrastructure, private rental accommodation, weddings and events and the local economy. 

    Who is the SVS for?

    The SVS is for all operators in the visitor economy, from large corporate players, to small businesses. It is for the broader residents and community to ensure the environmental, economic and lifestyle sustainability of Byron Shire. 

    Why change from a Tourism Management Plan to a Sustainable Visitation Strategy?

    Visitation strategy is the most effective for sustainable councils, and this aligns with Byron Shire values and objectives. Furthermore, the sustainable visitation strategy includes a renewed vision, objectives and actions and community engagement to ensure that we are protecting the future of the shire. 

    What is the vision?

    The following vision statements summarise the desired outcomes from this strategy:

    · Positioning Byron Shire as a leading sustainable destination with a protected landscape, rich history and vibrant community;

    · Positioning Bangalow, Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Ocean Shores, Mullumbimby, and the Byron Hinterland as key hubs offering; arts and cultural experiences; health and wellness product; walking trails; food trails; entertainment experiences and heritage attractions.

    Who are the stakeholders we will consult with to draft this strategy?

    Council is undertaking extensive engagement with residents, industry and visitors through online forums, kitchen table discussions, kitchen table workshop, the kitchen table online feedback form, social media and a community solutions panel.

    What steps are being taken to ensure sustainability of the visitor economy?

    Byron Shire attracts approximately 2 million visitors each year, which accounts for 14% of our economy - $463m of output/sales. Economically, this is advantageous, however, the negative impacts from high visitation is possibly leading Byron Shire into a state of over-tourism. Over-tourism describes destinations where too many visitors negatively affect the quality of life in the area or the quality of the experience unacceptably.

    In response to this concern, the SVS now looks to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Destination Criteria as a global benchmark for sustainable tourism practices. The initial step in this process is to formulate an inclusive tourism working group that is responsible for rolling out the SVS and monitoring the success of its initiatives.