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NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant has committed $6 million of new money to implement a regional conferencing strategy that would attract even more conferences to places like Tamworth and deliver an estimated $24 million in economic benefits across NSW.

Mr Grant announced the budget boost at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre with local member Kevin Anderson.

“I want regional places like Tamworth to be a first-choice location when organisations are deciding where to hold their next conference,” Mr Grant said.

“Most major regional cities have an airport with daily capital city connections, numerous hotels and motels, and conference venues that can host up to 400 delegates.

“Here in Tamworth we have three primary conference venues and a fantastic airport serviced by regular daily flights to and from Sydney with Qantas.

“Tamworth is well placed to be a big winner from our $6 million commitment to bring more conferences to regional NSW.

“More conferences in regional NSW will boost economic activity, and that means more jobs,” Mr Grant said.

Local MP Kevin Anderson welcomed the announcement as a win for local hotels, motels, restaurants and cafes in Tamworth.

“We are well placed in Tamworth to host regional conferences, our Entertainment Centre, along with the Capitol Theatre and Town Hall can each host audiences of over 400 people,” Mr Anderson said.

“About half of the 900 hotel and motel rooms in Tamworth were unoccupied last June, so we have capacity to grow.

“I will be asking Destination NSW to throw their support behind attracting conferences that will help local businesses to boost their activity during the quieter periods of the year.

“Local hotels, motels and cafes in Tamworth will get a chunk of the estimated $24 million in increased expenditure from visiting conference delegates.”

The $6 million will include grants to councils and external organisations to attract new conferences to places like Tamworth.

A Regional Conferencing Strategy is currently being prepared by Destination NSW (DNSW). DNSW will consult with industry organisations to finalise the strategy by May 2015.

The strategy is expected to include a new business unit dedicated to regional conferencing. It will be tasked with building industry capability, developing promotional campaigns as well as co-ordinated business and financial support for conference bids.

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