Byron Bay – Open Forum

Vice presentation and Backpacker Bed Tax

Byron Bay Open Forum

Special guests:

 James Robinson Gale – Manager Byron Bay Beach Hostel

Alex Light – Head of content for Vice Media

Sarah – Council Member – Discussing  visitor contribution

The open forum started off with a huge welcome given by Mr Robinson-Gale to introduce our special guest’s and represent the Byron Bay operators.

Alex Light is the Head of Content for Australia at Vice Media since June 2011 and Commercial Director for Australia since June 2015 at Vice Media LLC. At VICE, Alex Light’s role is working with a wide range of clients in developing branded content campaigns and content marketing, whilst overseeing the running of the Sydney office.

Prior to working with VICE Alex had experience working with digital publishing, and in major advertising agencies including Clemenger BBDO and George Patterson Y&R in Australia.

Alex made a special trip from Sydney to come and speak to us in Byron Bay about Millennials – the voice of the new generation!

Loosely defined as people born after the mid-1980s, Millennials currently account for 217 million trips, a number expected to rise to 320 million in 2020. Alex spoke to us and gave great tips on how to connect.

Speed is essential. Millennials want information now, and if online information takes too long to find, they will simply find a new site, often turning to information giants such as Google. This isn’t ideal, as the operator has little control over the content. To adapt, operators should make all online information organised, easy to find, and up-to-date.

Millennials are not all about having loyalty to a product like it used to be. They are driven by the here and now!

Byron Bay Backpacker Bed Tax 

Also the member of Council of Byron who answered all our questions regarding the  visitor contribution.

What is the backpacker bed tax? Visitor contribution?

With infrastructure and amenities buckling under the weight of 1.9 million visitors a year, the 33,000 rate payers of Byron Bay are facing a proposed special rate rise between 33 and 60 per cent, the cost of which would be passed onto tourists.

A ‘bed tax’ or ‘tourism tax’ would provide much needed new revenue streams for Council that could be used to help fund upgraded facilities in Byron Bay that are degraded through the large number of visitors to the Shire, around 1.9M per year. However the NSW state government currently does not support either tax and there is no way it could be introduced without State Government legislation.

We need to remember that Council’s infrastructure (roads) problems are shire wide and most of these roads service ratepayers, rather than visitors.

The discussion that took place with Councillor Sarah,  is that ” visitor contribution”  has not yet been confirmed and no decisions have been made, yet.  She also mentioned that the council would be interested in getting the view point of the community and various industry groups.

The open forum is a great way of coming together. Thank you to everyone that attended!

We can’t wait to see you at the BOA AGM in September!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the BOA team on boa@boansw.org,au