What is the Draft Waverley Sustainable Visitation Strategy 2019 - 2024 (SVS)?

The Draft Waverley Sustainable Visitation Strategy 2019 – 2024 (SVS) is a plan that highlights recommended initiatives that aim to maximise benefits to Waverley’s environment, community, culture and business; and minimise negative impacts of overtourism on the local community. 

What is the vision?

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

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

·  Positioning Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction as key neighbourhood hubs offering; arts and cultural experiences; clustered health and wellness product; walking trails; food trails; entertainment experiences and heritage attractions.

·  Positioning Bondi Junction as a significant district centre, renowned for business, knowledge and innovation. 

Why do we need a SVS?

Waverley has had a long history of tourism management. The natural influx of visitors to the area has had a range of positive and negative impacts on the local community. Council holds a strong position on sustainability and wishes to extend this to tourism management to achieve a balance between the needs of residents, businesses and visitors. 

What is the difference between a visitor economy and tourism?

The visitor economy takes into account broader economic activity than that which has historically been defined as ‘tourism’. It includes direct and indirect impacts resulting from a visitor travelling outside their usual environment for a holiday, leisure, events, business, conventions and exhibitions, retail, education, to visit friends and relatives or for short-term employment. 

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 the Waverley LGA. 

How was the SVS developed?

State and Federal Governments identified the visitor economy as a priority best managed through destination management plans. This was highlighted in the NSW Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan.

The Waverley SVS has evolved since Council began working on the project in 2016 with the support of an external consultant, Stafford Consultancy Group. Engagement with Internal staff, Councillors, and external stakeholders along with further research, identified clear priorities for the strategy to address the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental. This now underpins the action plan, which is also aligned to the new Community Strategic Plan 2018 – 2029. 

Who are the stakeholders we have consulted with to draft this strategy?

The commissioned consultant, undertook extensive consultations with internal staff, Councillors and external stakeholders, including Destination NSW, Bondi Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses.

Due to the large amount of Community consultation throughout 2017 and 2018, the SVS has incorporated feedback from the Community Strategic Plan sessions and aligned all projects with specific theme priorities. 

How have the priorities been determined for the SVS?

The Waverley SVS prioritises the sustainability of Waverley’s environment, culture and heritage as the cornerstones for tourism management within the LGA. All recommended projects within this plan now clearly contribute to one or all of the three pillars of sustainability, benefitting Waverley’s economic, social or environmental goals.

The strategy objectives are to:

1.  Develop a sustainable approach to tourism management that protects and maintains Waverley’s environment, culture and heritage.  

2.  Integrate tourism effectively within the community and mitigate the negative impacts of tourism on local amenity.

3.  Grow Waverley’s share of higher-yielding visitor markets.

4.  Support tourism product, which generates a sustainable commercial return.

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

Waverley LGA attracts approximately 2.5 million visitors each year, which contributes significantly to Waverley’s economy. This figure does not include an additional 4.3 million local visits from residents and neighbouring LGAs within a 25 km radius. Economically, this is advantageous, however, the negative impacts from high visitation is possibly leading Waverley into a state of overtourism. Overtourism 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.

The SVS is a five-year plan that considers the uniqueness of Bondi, the requirements for Waverley and balancing community priorities to leverage from this high visitation. The Waverley SVS represents a framework that ensures opportunities across the Waverley economy for investment, job creation and potential income sources are well-managed and that key cultural and natural heritage assets are maintained and celebrated.

How is the progress of the strategy going to be monitored?

The SVS presents a range of project opportunities and priorities, all of which have indicative timelines for consideration. However, each project will be subject to appraisal and advice from a new Tourism Working Group. Once the TWG is in place, key projects will be identified from that point and timelines readjusted.