Undoubtedly, the tourism and hospitality sector employs a lot of workers in Kangaroo Valley and the South Coast. Through the Shoalhaven Business Enterprise online report (Shoalhaven at a Glance: Demographics and Business Statistics), retail and accommodation and food services are two of the top 8 major employment categories in the Shoalhaven.

 Rob Pollock, who holds an OAM for his contribution to Tourism on the South Coast also announced something that made an impression on me: “Tourism is everybody’s business and is vital to us all.” Tourism is vital to Kangaroo Valley. With the small permanent population that we have, many businesses rely on tourists and visitors. Their experiences and memory of Kangaroo Valley will come from each interaction they have with every person they contact before and during their time in Kangaroo Valley. Visitors come here for relaxation, recreation and to experience the natural beauty. They will remember their experiences and time here based on their interactions with people. Even if they do not speak with anyone in the valley, a smile will welcome them and they will remember that well after they leave.

 Bob Pollock also said that the biggest draw card for tourists and visitors to the South Coast is the natural and diverse beauty that is not overdeveloped. Kangaroo Valley is the epitome of this. Even after three and a half years here, I catch my breath at the sights that we are blessed with each day and season. I am sure many of us take it for granted, but this is what we can share with visitors.

 This links to a point that was made about the dependency that small businesses, particularly in tourism and hospitality, have on each other. The Kangaroo Valley Tourism Association is our local Tourism body who aims to support and build this reliance between tourism businesses in Kangaroo Valley. It provides a network for building each other up. There are many people in Kangaroo Valley who have a lot of passion for this unique place and community. So many individuals and groups who work in so many ways to make Kangaroo Valley what it is – a unique, beautiful place that we are all proud to share. To all those people, we thank you.