Grafton’s heritage on display for tourism leaders

A successful bid by Clarence Valley Council will see the 2022 Destination North Coast Tourism Symposium showcase two of Grafton’s most iconic heritage-listed venues in July.

The industry conference brings together key regional stakeholders, strategists and tourism experts to discuss and consider issues, challenges and opportunities impacting tourism across the North Coast.

The Saraton Theatre (pictured below) will be the venue for the Tourism Symposium on 28 July, followed that evening by the Awards Gala Dinner at The Barn (pictured above) in the Grafton Showgrounds.


“The two host venues are both heritage-listed buildings that showcase Grafton’s rich and proud history,” Clarence Valley Mayor Ian Tiley said.

“Clarence Valley Council is proud to partner with Destination North Coast to co-host the annual event .

“Holding this event in Grafton presents an opportunity to showcase the Clarence Valley to tourism industry leaders from across the country.

“More than 100 key stakeholders including Tourism Australia representatives will see what Grafton has to offer and we are hoping that many of these visitors stay over and enjoy the weekend in our beautiful region.”

Clarence Valley Council made the successful bid to host the annual event with the aim of promoting Grafton and its heritage.

The Barn 1.JPG

The original bid was submitted in March 2020, just before Covid-19 struck.

“It was an opportunity for Grafton to host tourism delegates from the North Coast following the impact of the 2019 bushfires and boost the local economy after a significant fall in visitation to affected areas,” CVC Acting General Manager Laura Black said.

“Fast forward to 2022, following the impact of border closures and travel restrictions during the pandemic, and more recently floods, we’re now ready to put Grafton in the spotlight.

“The two venues, accommodation providers, local producers, entertainers, transport and tour operators are all set to benefit from this event.”

This year’s Symposium theme is Evolution for Success which aims to stimulate a strategic outlook for tourism for the North Coast region, and inspire passion, enthusiasm and resilience to invigorate tourism post the pandemic and natural disasters. Renowned futurist Steve Sammartino is the opening keynote speaker for the event.

The Gala Dinner provides a networking opportunity and will recognise and celebrate the region’s finest tourism operators, including a Local Hero awards ceremony.

Early Bird Combo Event tickets ($145 + booking fee) are currently available here.

Tourism Symposium

ABOVE: Mark Blackadder, pictured with Clarence Valley Council Industry Engagement staff Jo Harding and Joana Olah, was presented a Local Tourism Hero Award at Urunga in 2021 for his efforts as Jacaranda Festival manager.

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