The state government has an ambitious plan to encourage overseas tourists to stay an extra night in Sydney to taste the culinary delights of suburbs like Haberfield, Cabramatta and Harris Park.
In an attempt to pump millions more dollars into the economy, a dinner at a time, Citizenship and Communities Minister Victor Dominello has asked the Community Relations Commission to investigate how to encourage overseas visitors to stay in Sydney an extra night and dine at one of “Sydney’s ethnic eat streets”.
Mr Dominello said if just 10 per cent of international tourists stay in Sydney for an extra night, it means an extra $30 million for the NSW economy.
His department earmarked Cabramatta, Haberfield, Leichhardt and Harris Park as examples of suburbs they want to promote to tourists for their restaurants and specialised fresh food stores.
He said many of Sydney’s “eat streets” were “under-utilised assets” which could drive tourism beyond the city.
“Some 35 per cent of Sydney residents were born overseas, that adds up to a lot of overseas family and friends who we should be targeting in our tourism marketing,” Mr Dominello said.
Restaurants across the city will be surveyed by the Community Relations Commission about the number of international diners they get and what they could do to attract more.
United Indian Association president Amarinder Bajwa, 43, is working with restaurant owners in Harris Park on ideas to make the suburb more attractive to tourists. He said one of the ideas proposed by local restaurateurs was to offer discounts to tourists as an incentive to stay an extra night and eat their fill.
“We have spoken about offering discounts to people visiting from overseas or interstate, of extending business hours, and we are also proposing to have something like an annual curry day festival. There is also a suggestion to name the area ‘Little India’,” Mr Bajwa said.
“I think giving the street an identity like that will help a great deal.”
Mr Bajwa said these ideas would form the basis of the survey responses from Harris Park to the government.
Mr Dominello said there were 2.8 million foreign overnight visitors to NSW last year, most from India and China.
“At the same time, the local Chinese and Indian communities are among the state’s largest and fastest growing,” he said.