The new Eden Welcome Centre has officially opened today, heralding the beginning of a new era for tourism in Eden and the Sapphire Coast.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance alongside Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres, officially opened the new centre, which sits beautifully and complimentary to the landscape near the Eden Cruise Wharf.
“This amazing space and home of the Eden Visitor Information Centre will showcase the region’s attractions, promote local businesses and offer local arts, crafts and produce to tens of thousands of tourists each year,” Mr Constance said.
“For years our dedicated volunteers have been up at dark, erecting marquees, setting up their stalls and standing ready to welcome arriving cruise passengers.
“I am excited to see the centre completed and know what a difference it will make to our volunteers who have endured the hard yards.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism Stuart Ayres said recent bushfires and the COVID-19 crisis have had a significant impact on tourism in the area.
”The opening of the Eden Welcome Centre sends a clear message - Eden is open for business and ready to welcome tourists back with open arms,” Minister Ayres said.
“Each cruise ship brings around 2,000 passengers into Eden — a huge boost to the local economy. As these visitors step off the ship, the Eden Welcome Centre will give them a warm community welcome and show them what the Sapphire Coast have to offer.”
Chief Executive Officer and Director, Port Authority of NSW, Philip Holliday said the Port of Eden is an increasingly popular cruise destination because it provides the perfect gateway to the Sapphire Coast for cruise ships travelling between Sydney and Melbourne.
“The Eden Welcome Centre, along with the Eden Cruise Wharf, will further strengthen the region’s place on the Australian cruise map and help bring the economic benefits of cruise tourism to its shores,” said Mr Holliday.
Designed by Cox Architects and constructed by local company Rankin Builders, work on the two-story Eden Welcome Centre began in March 2020 and has provided over 10,000 hours of work to around 40 regional subcontractors.
Built from native regional hardwoods and featuring artwork, stories and heritage interpretation throughout, the Eden Welcome Centre is a tribute to the region as it celebrates maritime history, Aboriginal history and storytelling, wildlife, and the region’s key industries.
Sustainable features within the building’s design aim to achieve a 4-star green energy rating.
For those wishing to see it for themselves, the centre will open its doors to the public from 9am-2pm this weekend (1 & 2 May) with a community event hosted by Eden Tourism and Bega Valley Regional Gallery, and sponsored by the Port Authority.
Visitors will be welcomed to take a first look through the new building; watch performances by comedian and magician Rhys The Trickster, dance group Fling Physical Theatre and a host of local musicians; browse an arts market with local makers and crafters; and enjoy the tastes of local food trucks.
Find out more about the Eden Welcome Centre at portauthoritynsw.com.au/edenwelcomecentre.