Centre of Excellence | Stage 2

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An industry-led project, the South Coast Centre of Excellence (CoE) Stage 1 created a pipeline of skilled workers by promoting career pathways in hospitality and tourism to encourage staff attraction and retention, whilst providing lasting careers for residents including young and Indigenous workers.

Made possible through grant funding of $995,023 provided via the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund (BLERF), the CoE aided the economic recovery of bushfire-impacted local government areas of Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley by addressing workforce shortages; elevating visitor experiences; and supporting product diversification, to drive increased tourism yield (visitor spend), reduce seasonality and support resilient local businesses.

Based on the success of the project, Destination Sydney Surround South and Destination Southern NSW were successful in securing funding under the Regional NSW – Business Case & Strategy Development Fund, to develop a business case for Stage 2 of the Centre of Excellence project.

The South Coast Centre of Excellence Stage 2 Business Case highlights the success of the CoE Stage 1 project in supporting the hospitality and tourism sector, and outlines additional opportunities to grow the visitor economy and address gaps identified by business owners, operators, and staff, while building on the CoE project’s momentum.

The Business Case proposes that Stage 2 would continue the project delivery in Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley and expand the CoE to service the LGAs of Kiama, Shellharbour, Wingecarribee, Wollongong and Snowy Monaro, outlining research into
alternative combinations of service offerings (or activities), locations and delivery models, to deliver on its vision to support economic growth in the Region through the development and enhancement of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Extensive stakeholder consultation was conducted with key stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industries to understand industry needs and their demand for services and support, which supported the refinement of the alternatives into a list of four options. The four options were analysed in further detail with the preferred option providing the higher Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR).

Option inclusions:

  • Networking activities and events hosted or facilitated by the CoE that complement the
    activities of Destination Networks (DNs) and are intended to drive employment and training
    opportunities in the industry and draw awareness to region-specific products and services, including
    by connecting businesses and individuals to existing training and development programs.
  • The provision of targeted training programs that focus on high-value product offerings, fill training gaps and upskill workers.
  • Activities to facilitate greater recruitment and retention by partnering and engaging with education institutions and offering training programs to encourage retention, across all 8 LGAs.

The Business Case also outlines how the CoE Stage 2 project will leverage partnerships and existing networks in the Region to avoid duplication, enable cost effect service delivery and maximise reach and outcomes across the Region.

In addition to the service delivery options investigated as part of the Business Case, a proposed governance model was outlined, which included two key governing entities responsible for governance and oversight of the CoE’s program:

  • A Board, comprised of representatives from the DSSS and Destination Southern NSW (DSNSW) Boards, working together in a joint decision-making capacity as key funders of the program; and
  • A Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from across the tourism and hospitality industries, including business owners and operators, members of existing community groups and industry networks, as well as local government, in the Region, and responsible for shaping the CoE’s activities and delivery mechanisms from a strategic perspective, ensuring that the CoE remains industry led.

The Business Case proposes that during Stage 2 of the project, the CoE will continue, at least initially, to be hosted by DSSS and DSNSW, and as the CoE transitions to a more sustainable funding model with external funding sources beyond government, the document recommends that governance arrangements are revisited to ensure that funding bodies remain responsible for governance.

Download a copy of the South Coast Centre of Excellence Stage 2 Business Case.

Stage 3

Expanding on the success of the South Coast Centre of Excellence, Destination NSW has secured funding to deliver the NSW Choose Tourism Program, which will address industry workforce shortages by encouraging Australians to pursue a career in the visitor economy while helping operators to attract, retain and upskill staff.

Find out more about the NSW Choose Tourism Program here.

Find out more about the Centre of Excellence Stage 1 project here.

Date completed

February 2024

Value of project

$285193