Better accommodation, refreshing existing attractions and creating unique experiences are some of the key aims of an ambitious new tourism plan for the Griffith region.
Griffith City Council officially adopted the Griffith Destination tourism plan 2021-2024 at this week's council meeting.
The plan was put together by the Griffith Tourism Team and the Tourism and Events committee, who worked with over 140 regional stakeholders to develop the outline of how Griffith's tourism industry would expand in a post-COVID world.
Tourism manager Mirella Guidolin said the plan being approved was "a big step" for the future of tourism in the region.
"I don't have a crystal ball, but tourism in Griffith is certainly on the up. People are hearing about the city a lot more and it's in a positive light."
We have so many unique things which we can show off.Mirella Guidolin, Griffith tourism manager
A key aim of the plan is to create unique and memorable experiences for visitors, Mrs Guidolin said.
"It's those experiences .... a walk around the gardens with a glass of wine and an antipasto platter ... those little experiences fit with what Griffith is and we're trying to tap into that.
"And it's not just about our food and our wine, it's our artists, our musicians, our agriculture. These industries that are doing things that no other places in Australia are doing.
"People come from the city and they've never seen a chook before ... we have so many unique things which we can show off."
The committee is aiming to launch a culinary tourism action group, to drive the creation of experiences which build on Griffith's "rich cultural, food, and wine background".
Experiences suggested in the plan include cooking classes with 'Nonna', salami making, and sauce making.
Another major aim laid out in the plan is to improve the amount of accommodation available for visitors to Griffith.
Over the next four years, the committee is aiming to start work on a new tourist park, attract five new boutique accommodation operations, and find a way to accommodate 'overspill' visitors from big events.
The plan also outlines a strategy to "attract, develop and maintain events" to bring visitors to the area.
Just this year the committee will be encouraging seasonal CBD markets and putting together an "events tourism action group" to work towards bringing events to Griffith.
Griffith's strengths and weaknesses as a tourist location are highlighted within the stategy.
The key strengths included being a major agricultural food bowl, quality restaurants and wineries, and a multicultural community.
Weaknesses included a lack of appropriate accommodation, a lack of family friendly experiences, and a lack of evening entertainment.
Mrs Guidolin said COVID had actually brought "a lot of opportunities" to Griffith's tourism, by
"Because of COVID, a lot of people are coming here and going 'wow I didn't know this was here', we have to keep that going," she said.
The Griffith Destination Tourism Plan 2021-2024 was on exhibition to the public in December.
Two members of the community made submissions which the council has responded to, however the plan was not updated.
The full plan is available on the council website.