Noosa mayor Tony Wellington.
Noosa mayor Tony Wellington.

Smart way to enrich economy with some digital-driven tech

SINCE the turn of the century, income from tourism in the Noosa Shire has grown from $645 million to around $1 billion.

Over the last decade in particular, Noosa has been outperforming the rest of Queensland in attracting visitors.

Since 2010/11 the number of visitor nights (international and domestic) in Noosa has increased by 29 per cent.

Research also shows that Noosa’s targeted strategy is working, with the average daily spend by domestic visitors being higher in Noosa than the spend of domestic visitors to Queensland generally.

But we know that tourism fluctuates according to the state of the economy, global upheavals and other factors. Diversifying the economy is one of council’s aims, and we are making progress in this regard.

Recent research co-funded by Tourism Noosa and Noosa Council has noted the increasing diversification of the Noosa economy.

This finding is supported by Lucid Economics who stated in their 2018 Noosa Economic Profile that “compared to a few years ago, the Noosa economy is more diversified and better equipped to absorb changes in tourism.”

The Peregian Digital Hub has been an interesting litmus test of Noosa’s business trends. Having been in operation for just over a year, it houses 18 businesses employing 55 people, many of them recent arrivals to our shire. What’s more, new companies have been created at the hub.

Under the skilful management of hub director Chris Boden, a wide range of programs have been instigated, many of which invest in the future of the local economy.

For younger residents, these include digital skills workshops, after-school inventor and robotics clubs, and a special STEM program for girls. For businesses generally, the hub provides entrepreneurial support for 27 companies.

It also has a brilliant guest speaker program plus the hub plays host to a range of specialist professional groups.

In part, the Hub’s success is due to the strength of the Noosa “brand”.

Noosa Shire attracts new businesses and entrepreneurs wanting to capitalise on the key ingredients of the brand: environmental awareness, sustainability and originality.

That’s why, as a council, we need to ensure that we don’t make decisions that undermine the authenticity and integrity of that brand.

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