24 June 2008

International visitors to Australia love the new Wollongong

Wollongong, the coastal city south of Sydney, is enjoying tourism success amidst concerns from the Australian Government that the New South Wales tourism industry is holding back economic growth.

Continued investment and improved travel options to Wollongong have contributed to the high growth of tourism to Sydney’s south.   Five new top-brand hotels, a new escarpment attraction, and regular coach tours on the new Grand Pacific Drive are recent developments in the city, which are set to attract more international holiday makers to regional New South Wales. 

“Almost 60,000 international visitors chose Wollongong for an overnight stay during 2007, up 31 per cent on 2006,” said the Tourism Wollongong General Manager Greg Binskin.

Wollongong has many attractions to the area, including the world’s second oldest National Park, an international hand-gliding site, sky-diving, scuba diving, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Buddhist temple, the Jamberoo Recreational Park, and the new Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk. 

“Sea Cliff Bridge provides such a dramatic focal point that we realised we had the makings of a whole new touring drive, and Grand Pacific Drive was born. The response has been phenomenal, with visitor nights on a strong upward curve and the city going through an unprecedented development boom on the tourism front,” Mr Binskin added.

Mr Binskin is confident the Grand Pacific Drive and continued investment into Wollongong’s tourism industry will continue to attract short-term visitors to Australia, who are looking for a Sydney holiday with a regional coastal experience.  Travellers on an Australia visa are increasingly choosing to visit Wollongong on the Grand Pacific Drive, even though it is in its third year of operation.

An ETA visa is required for all short-term visitors travelling to Australia. Visa Bureau’s automated application process means that in most cases, they can be granted in seconds.

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