The Blue Mountains is returning into the spotlight as favourite venues are recreated and passionate professionals get behind the region.

The Blue Mountains is set to see a revival this year. Changes, renovations and exciting new additions to its events industry offerings could all combine to see a boost in business like never before. As we come into the Asia Century, Blue Mountains, Lithgow & Oberon Tourism is working to upgrade and promote the products of the area while also focusing on turning local awareness into bed nights.
The iconic Fairmont was once a lead venue that lost its groove, but it is quickly regaining its premier position after a complete transformation. It was taken over by Accor last year and rebranded to an M Gallery property after extensive renovations and refurbishments. It has since hosted a range of conferences and events from companies who enjoy its nature-based location, old world charm and modern professionalism.
Nearby, the train of the much-loved Scenic Railway, fondly known as the Mountain Devil, which has thrilled 25 million visitors on its journey down to the pristine rainforest floor, is being replaced to cater to demand. A new Swiss-designed train and railway line will be installed under a $30 million redevelopment expected to be completed by Easter this year.
“It is now the time for a new chapter at Scenic World and this railway transformation will provide our visitors with a fresh perspective on the rainforest with some new surprises entwined with our history,” the Scenic World joint managing directors and siblings, Anthea and David Hammon, said.
The replacement comes in time for a boost in business for the Blue Mountains, which Scenic World is already noticing, particularly from the Chinese market. The independent tourist attraction has experienced a 303 per cent increase in visitation from China making it the company’s strongest inbound market, and accounting for 15 per cent of its 850,000 annual visitors. These numbers hint at the boost in tourism the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon regions are expecting over the coming years.
Further to the new additions is the appointment of accomplished hotelier, Ralf Bruegger, who took over as group general manager for Lilianfels, Echoes and The Hydro Majestic Hotel. Mr Bruegger will lead a $30 million transformation of The Hydro Majestic Hotel which will host 115 five-star hotel rooms and suites, a Wintergarden Dining & Functions space for 250 pax, a ballroom seating 250, a conference centre, Boiler House Café, Belgravia Lounge and one of the largest international spas in Australia. The huge project will take the property into an international class for both leisure and business.
On top of this, Blue Mountains, Lithgow & Oberon Tourism has welcomed a new chief executive officer, James Shearer, who hopes to revitalise the region and bring it to the fore of business event planners’ minds.
We spoke exclusively with Mr Shearer about the plans of Blue Mountains & Oberon Tourism in attracting more conferences and business to the region.