A New South Wales tourism body has collapsed into voluntary administration, leaving many small businesses questioning whether they will continue to receive valuable marketing help and, in turn, money from visitors.
Inland NSW Regional Tourism Organisation Incorporated appointed external managers on March 31.
Bradd Morelli and Andrew Spring from Jirsch Sutherland have been appointed joint voluntary administrators.
According to the group’s annual report, Inland NSW received $2.26 million in income during 2015.
The tourism body spent a total of $2.24 million during the same period, leaving a small surplus of $122,835.
Inland NSW told its members on Friday it had decided to call in administrators because it was not able to secure enough funding, according to the ABC.
News of the group’s voluntary administration has shocked small business owners in NSW, with many nervous about what the developments mean for their business.
Steve Sliwka, a pub-owner from Broken Hill, told the ABC he was “shocked” to learn of the collapse given he paid money to the tourism body about two weeks ago.
“There was no communication that anything was going bad, or any type of that stuff,” Sliwka said.
“I’m just as gobsmacked as anyone else I suppose.”
However, a spokesperson for NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres told SmartCompany the state government remains committed to growing tourism in regional areas, with Inland NSW remaining a “key part” of that approach.
“The NSW Government remains committed to promoting Inland NSW as a visitor destination and will ensure our tourism agency Destination NSW continues to work with local operators to ensure the ongoing growth of the region,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“Over the coming months, they will work with local operators and stakeholders to support the region through publicity, marketing, media and trade famils and events.
“In the transition phase, Destination NSW will also meet with the appointed administrator and will determine ongoing arrangements to ensure continued promotion of the region.”
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SmartCompany contacted Jirsch Sutherland and Inland NSW for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.