The Bega Valley region is home to a number of substantial industries.
The Shire’s roots lie in these three related industries.
The first European settlers began farming cattle in the 1830s and dairy farming emerged within a few decades.
Bega Valley now also has thriving timber and fishing operations.
Bega Cheese is headquartered in the Shire and is the area's largest employer with annual revenues of $931 million in 2011.
There are other agriculture and primary sector producers proudly Bega-based.
The tourism sector continues to grow with the Sapphire Coast becoming an increasingly popular seaside getaway.
The main tourist towns such as Bermagui, Eden and Merimbula typically experience a threefold boost in their populations during the peak summer tourist period.
On average, Bega Valley Shire receives over 820,000 visitors annually, more than half of whom are domestic overnight visitors, spending around $255 million each year.
The Shire has almost fifty tourist accommodation establishments.
With each containing five or more rooms, in total they offer visitors around 2,600 beds in more than 870 rooms.
Local accommodation establishments received 145,288 guest arrivals in the year to December 2009, which is up 4.0 percent on the previous year.
These arrivals accounted for 301,572 guest nights and 152,564 room nights, which also equate to increases of 1.5 percent and 3.0 percent respectively over this same period.
As a result, the tourist accommodation sector injected $14.6 million into the Bega Valley economy during 2009.
This is a notable 4.1 percent increase on the 2008 takings of $13.9 million.
Popular attractions in the region include the Merimbula Aquarium and Wharf Restaurant, the Magic Mountain Amusement Park, the Eden Killer Whale Museum, and the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre.
Activities such as game fishing and whale watching also continue to be very popular attractions.
By the end of the 2006/07 financial year there were 2,682 registered businesses in the Bega Valley Shire.
Just over half were non-employing businesses (53.6 percent), while most (96.6 percent) businesses in the area had less than 20 employees.
One in five local businesses sat within the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery industry (19.8 percent).
Construction (16.7 percent) and Property and Business Services (15.7 percent) also featured prominently in the area.
There were numerous businesses in services sectors such as Retail (13.3 percent), Accommodation, Cafés and Restaurants (7.0 percent) and Health and Community Services (4.4 percent). Manufacturing comprised 5.6 percent of businesses.
The Shire’s major industrial precincts are at North Bega, Eden and South Pambula and the main retail areas are within the town centres of Bega, Eden and Merimbula.
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