Visitors come to NSW for many reasons – to visit beautiful beaches, attend events, participate in sport or simply be at one with nature in the outdoors and national parks. Tourism is an economic success story! In NSW, according to Destination New South Wales figures, 71.8 million visitors spend $22.3bn during their 91.6 million overnight stays.
However, the success of tourism brings with it the real risk of spoiling our natural and beautiful holiday destinations. The irony is not lost on those whose lives and livelihoods depend on the NSW visitor economy. According to NSW EPA ‘Don’t be a Tosser’ data, visitors generate 25,000 tonnes of litter every year, twice as much as locals and much of it ends up in the Ocean. Visitor Litter: Anything unwanted that has been thrown, blown or left in the wrong place.
In 2021, Take 3 began a conversation about this issue with tourism operators across the state. Through a pilot program, First Wave, we engaged with tourism leaders, researched, consulted, workshopped and surveyed tourism operators. More than 80 businesses took part. We subsequently built a strategy, The NSW Visitor Economy Litter Prevention Strategy, a NSW Visitor Economy Litter Reduction Toolkit and paved the way forward for a whole-of-industry action plan for NSW.
“As tourism operators we have a responsibility. We need to protect the future sustainability of the environment and of our businesses.”
Jacqui Walshe, The Walshe Group
In 2022, equipped with these resources and funding from an EPA Community Litter Grant, we rolled out the action plan – Ground Swell – to empower tourism businesses of all types to reduce and reverse the litter impact visitors knowingly or unknowingly leave behind in coastal, country, urban and remote locations.
With no costs to participants, we created a 3-step litter reduction journey for tourism organisations to follow, providing a solid learning foundation from the EPA’s own it and act framework, helping participants
- understand existing litter hotspots specific to their business and their area
- blend litter reduction solutions and source reduction best practice into their business operations
- lead with confidence in their community and benefit from sustained litter-free success
In the past three months, 91 NSW businesses have registered and taken the first step already.
Any business that relies on tourism – you can join us too! Register here You’ll also benefit from a complimentary Take 3 Official Supporter Package worth $5,000.