A new tourism organisation called Experience Manly has been launched to promote Manly.

Local business operators, industry leaders and representatives of government came together to launch Experience Manly at an event held at Manly Greenhouse last Wednesday night (16 March). The group has been founded by local business people with the aim of boosting Manly tourism after a difficult couple of years caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The launch event was attended by around 50 guests, including Zali Steggall OAM MP, James Griffin MP, Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham, Matt Clifton, Charlotte Rimmer, Mayor Michael Regan, Tracey Mietzke and Michael Betteridge (main image, L-R).

Chairman of the not-for-profit organisation Matt Clifton said Experience Manly grew out of the initial COVID recovery efforts.

Matt Clifton

Matt Clifton

“The idea organically evolved as a continuation of James Griffin’s Tourism & Economic Recovery Taskforce, which he put together that had a group of industry leaders, tourism bodies, key stakeholders within the community, as well as council representatives to reboot us post COVID [lockdown] one.

“Then we sort of dissipated and then we re-engineered ourselves for COVID [lockdown] two and then re-engineered ourselves again for COVID [lockdown] three, and we’ve organically evolved into something that is now Experience Manly.

“Some of the challenges arising from that taskforce were not necessarily the ideas but the ability to execute. There were some amazing ideas around marketing initiatives but we couldn’t get the legs behind it because we didn’t have the funding.

“As a not-for-profit local tourism organisation, we are eligible to access relevant state and federal funding programs, allowing us to be that vehicle to support those initiatives going forward,” said Mr Clifton.

Experience Manly is driven by founding members, including:

  • Managing Director of MJC Group and Foralus Group of Companies Matt Clifton, who operates a range of hospitality venues within the Manly area
  • Managing Director of Aide de MD and President of Manly Business Chamber Charlotte Rimmer, who was also recently named Manly Local Woman of the Year 2022
  • Partnerships Manager at Athas Group and Vice-President of Manly Business Chamber Tracey Mietzke
  • General Manager Tourism Development for NRMA Michael Betteridge

Member for Manly and NSW Environment and Heritage Minister James Griffin said Experience Manly will be an advocate for tourism to Manly to sustain a year-round local economy that will benefit business and locals.

James Griffin

James Griffin

“One of the stark things that came [from COVID lockdown one] was the fact that, generally speaking, a lot of operators in Manly and the nearby surrounds rely on about eight weeks of trade over January. And that really was a reminder as to why we have got to do better in flattening out and creating a much more sustainable visitor economy for Manly.

“The challenge we’ve got is changing perceptions around what interstate and international travellers think about Manly. A study was done that showed you could stay at the Four Seasons Hotel and either walk around to Darling Harbour and get there in 27 minutes, or go the other way and jump on the ferry and get to Manly in just as quick a time. International visitors had no idea this was right on their doorstep,” said Mr Griffin.

Experience Manly is an independent, not-for-profit body dedicated to the strategic recovery, growth and continued resilience of Manly’s tourism economy. It will collaborate with local, state, and federal tourism funding schemes to implement tourism initiatives.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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