New England tourism on new high

STUNNING: Gara Gorge is one of the local attactions highlighted in the new ‘Experience the Highs’ campaign.NEW England’s natural beauty is the focus of a new tourism marketing campaign launched on Monday at the New England Regional Art Museum.

Guyra, Walcha, Uralla and Armidale Dumaresq councils have collaborated under the banner of ‘New England High Country’ to create the collective $100,000 ‘Experience the Highs’ campaign, which will market the region to potential visitors in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Alongside a more traditional printed visitor guide and public relations drive, the campaign will also utilise social media and an iPad app featuring 360-degree panoramic photographs of local attractions to attract new audiences.

Armidale Dumaresq Council’s Economic Development, Tourism and Marketing project manager Tony Broomfield said the goal of the campaign was to target urban dwellers looking for a weekend escape.

“The opportunity we have is to utilise the natural assets and tap into what’s called experience-based tourism,” he said.

“It’s those people who are looking for a bit of change from that humdrum city existence. So they’re into mountain biking, they’re into riding motorbikes, they’re into bird watching, bushwalking, they’re into camping.

“Currently those people are going to the Blue Mountains. We just need to show them that if you come a bit further, you can have a short break and you can come over here.”

The campaign launch coincided with the announcement that NERAM will purchase a Margaret Olley masterpiece, ‘The Yellow Room Triptych’, for the Howard Hinton Collection.

Northern Tablelands MP Richard Torbay, who officially launched the campaign, said the co-operation between the councils to develop ‘Experience the Highs’ was extremely encouraging.

“I think to see the regional aspects of four councils coming together and showing what the region has to offer is a fantastic initiative that I think will benefit all of them involved and our area.”

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