APPEAL: Sheridan Ferrier wants support for the industry.LAKE Macquarie’s $362million tourism industry will be under threat if the city council does not increase rates considerably, Tourism Hunter executive manager Sheridan Ferrier says.

The council will disband its economic development department, close its visitor information centre at Swansea and stop all tourism expenditure if it only maintains rates at the cost of living (option one, right).

‘‘This could be the end of tourism for Lake Macquarie,” Ms Ferrier said.

‘‘Without the promotion and marketing of Lake Macquarie, visitors will head to other destinations.

‘‘Cafes, restaurants and accommodation operators will be hit hard.’’

She said Lake Macquarie attracted about 1million domestic visitors a year, who stayed an average of 2 nights and spent $145 a day.

Without a visitor information centre, services would be lost, including phone support, reservations, a website and marketing.

‘‘Tourism Hunter urges the community to consider the rate increase to ensure tourism can continue to contribute significantly to Lake Macquarie’s economy,’’ Ms Ferrier said.