Forum focuses on predicted tourism boom in Penrith

Penrith Valley Chamber President, Richard Fox. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media.
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The heavy rain outside failed to dampen the spirits of those who gathered at the Lights On Western Sydney forum last Friday, designed to prepare Penrith business operators for an increase of tourists in the region in the coming years.

The forum shone a light on the visitor economy strategy and showcased a series of industry leaders as they discussed the injection of tourism the opening of the Western Sydney International Airport (WSIA) will bring in 2026.

The event was organised and hosted by Penrith Valley Chamber in association with Blue Mountains Tourism.

Penrith Valley Chamber President Richard Fox opened the proceedings with a statement that was echoed throughout the event.

The forum underway in Penrith last Friday. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media.

“The visitor economy is everybody’s business and we need everyone working together so we all benefit from the opportunities when the planes land at the new airport,” Fox said.

Penrith Mayor Todd Carney shared that Penrith annually attracted 1.64 million visitors but was hoping to grow this number to 2.74 million by 2030.

“The opening of the Western Sydney International Airport is a game changer,” Carney said.

The event provided key updates on the construction of the WSIA and the complementing transport infrastructure, the Metro.

Peter Regan, CEO of Sydney Metro.
Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media.

WSIA CEO Simon Hickey confirmed the airport is predicted to promote the western Sydney region as a tourism destination.

“We need to connect the west to the west and the west to the rest,” Hickey said.

WSIA is predicted to service 10 million annual passengers in its first year of operation and 82 million passengers at full operation.

Sydney Metro Chief Executive Peter Regan shared the construction of the St Marys to Aerotropolis line is on schedule and will be prepared to service the influx of visitors.

“A train [will run] every five minutes in peak hour, and every 10 minutes in off peak,” Regan said.

In addition to airport infrastructure, a series of attractions are intended to entertain those living in or visiting the Nepean area.

Western Sydney Lakes Board Director Jacqui Vozzo said that major works are in the plans to enhance the Penrith Beach area.

“We want to create a public location that is locally loved and globally recognised,” Vozzo said.

Jacqui Vozzo, Board Director Western Sydney Lakes.
Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media.

Plans for an indoor snow resort, Winter Sports World, were presented in detail and Sydney Zoo, Scenic World and West HQ were highlighted as places set to provide entertainment to visitors.

Sport is another avenue of tourism for Penrith with the Panthers alone bringing in 200,000 visitors, and Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher confirming rugby league is important for the visitor economy.

The next Lights On event will be held in October.

Peter Magnisalis, CEO Winter Sports World. Photo: David Hill.

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