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Proposed new RTO for the Blue Mountains

(July 2016)

There has been much activity following the closure of the regional tourism organisation (RTO) 12 months ago.  

As the local tourism organisation (LTO) BMATA has taken up some of the more obvious and practical activities that were previouslty handled by BMLOT.  BMATA now owns the websites formally operated by BMLOT and we also own all of the other marketing colateral that was salvagable - including the photo library.  The website has been redesigned and relaunched, and has been cleaned of much outdated material and brken links.  More will be done in this space as funds become available. The BMATA had the responsibility to market and administer the very successful Roaring 20s Festival this year with financila assistance from Destination NSW and Blue Mountains City Council.  We will also be instramental in supporting and/or marketing and/or administrating other festivals and significane events that bring tourism to the Blue Mountains.


DNSW Position on the RTO?

Following the tourism industry forum held in August 2015, DNSW have been holding discussions with BMATA representaltves, the Council, and other key tourism stakeholders in the Blue Mountains towards the end of 2015 and into 2016.  One important outcome from these meetings is that the Destination Management Plan for the Blue Mountains must be redone as a matter of urgency.
At the same time, DNSW has conducted a review of all RTOs in NSW which was released at the begining of July 2016.  DNSW has scrapped all regional Tourism Organisations and has replaced them with 6 Destination Networks (see separate article - currently under BREAKING NEWS).
BMCC Council position?
At the Council meeting on 24th April 2016, Council accepted a Business Case in support of the formation of a new RTO comprising Blue Mountains, Penrith and Hawkesbury.
This business case proposes the formation of a RTO for Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Penrith Councils.  This business case ghas been forwarded to DNSW seeking their support and a funding contribution for the establishment of the proposed RTO.
Council also approved an amount of $30,000 to fund a new Destination Management plan and to fund the renewal of the Council's image and video library.
As of July 2016, Council has contracted The Stafford Group for formulate a new Destination Management Plan for the Blue Mountains area.  Consultation with key stakeholders, including with all interested tourism stakeholders, was conducted early in September. 
The Draft Destination Management Plan was released early March 2017 and Council is accepting submissions until 21st April.  BMATA executive is generally in favour of the Draft Plan however recognising that there could have been some additional factors covered.  We ask all members to have a look at the Plan and get a submission of support to Council.

BMATA position?

What is the position of BMATA about the formation of a new Regional Tourism Organisation?

  • The functionality of the RTO (along with the LTOs) should be based around the recommendations of the King Report.
  • The RTO should be run by a skills based board with stakeholder representation.
  • The RTO should NOT primarily be a membership organisation for all operators.
  • Individual membership should first and foremost be with their chosen LTO.
  • The RTO should comprise representation from each participating LTO, LGA, and those larger individual tourism businesses/stakeholders that wish to participate in whole-of-destination marketing programs.
  • Selected RTO programs (eg Conferencing) should be open to individual LTO members for a price determined by the program costs.
  • The RTO should not run events directly. Event promotion, marketing, help secure funding – perhaps, but the running of events should be left to the event organisers working with their LTO and/or LGA.
  • The RTO should channel allocated government funding to the LTOs for individual programs and marketing, and perhaps even for some administration costs.


This position has been in circulation for 18 months and has not changed.  The BMATA Executive were asked for input to the Business Case developed by the Stafford Group.  Various members of the Committee, as well as some of the members of larger strategic tourism operations, were on the working committee to formulate a new DNSW Destination Management Plan.  This committee has now been superceded by the Council's own project to develop the new DNP.