Enhancing the visitor experience in the Central West will be the main priority of newly appointed Destination NSW Central West Board member, Cathy Treasure.
The announcement of Ms Treasure's appointment to the Board was made in October, and, as a former Cowra resident, she is confident her intimate knowledge of the region will help her to advance it as a visitor destination.
"I understand the region and its people, the beauty, character and uniqueness - but also the challenges the area faces," Ms Treasure said.
"I hope to play a part in further developing and enhancing visitor experiences in the Central West. I have worked in a range of roles in private industry, the education sector and local government, with experience in events and tourism positions throughout Australia and overseas.
"I am hoping this diverse experience will help bring fresh perspectives and ideas to assist in growing the visitor economy. I also have a range of contacts throughout the region and would love to help foster more collaboration amongst various stakeholders."
Born and bred in Cowra, Ms Treasure completed her schooling at Cowra infants, primary and high schools.
"I left to go to University in Canberra when I was 17, but my family are still there, including my parents on the farm I grew up on. The farm is still my happy place, where I love to go back to and feel grounded," she told the Cowra Guardian.
"Cowra will always be home to me.
"I moved to Parkes in 2016 to take up the role as Festival Director for Parkes Elvis Festival - my mum actually sent me the job ad as she wanted me to move back closer to home. I have been here ever since, and my two children are going through school in Parkes and Forbes.
"I found the community very welcoming when I first arrived, and have made beautiful friends who have become like family.
"I have remained in Parkes despite moving on from my role at Parkes Shire Council, and now work consulting and delivering event management training, working with Councils and events throughout Australia."
When asked about the importance of both Cowra and Parkes in a regional tourism context, Ms Treasure describes them as, "important regional centres for the Central West. They are both very different in their offerings and strengths, and this diversity is what gives our region so much potential for the future.
"When I think of Cowra, I always picture the beautiful farmlands, fields of canola and magical spots along the river. I grew up not far from the Peace Precinct and Japanese Garden, and these places are very special to me and my family.
"Obviously now being in Parkes, my kids and I love going to the Dish or taking a drive to Goobang National Park. Parkes obviously does events well, but so do many centres in the Central West making it a vibrant, fun region; where else in the world can you find Elvis, ABBA, Beatles and Dolly Festivals all in the same region, all within a few months of each other?
"There are some really brilliant independent tourism operators in both centres who have dealt with many challenges in the past, running businesses and events through periods of COVID and natural disasters.
"Cycling has become a great linking tourism product throughout the region, with fabulous trails in and around both towns, and even between towns for those fitter than me.
"I believe that there are still so many also so many 'hidden gems' in the area, which are yet to be developed. More tourism product development is needed, and there are good opportunities in both towns for more Agritourism experiences and Aboriginal cultural tourism.
"There are also some fabulous local artisans and talented performers in our region, yet to really be discovered by our visitors.
"I believe as a whole the entire region needs to work more closely together and collaborate more to grow a sustainable visitor economy for Central West NSW.
"With towns and operators working closely together, they can generate fabulous multi-day road trips that travel through our unique towns where visitors can connect with authentic characters, producers and communities while enjoying beautiful natural and rural landscapes," she concluded.