Moira Shire Council’s draft Visitor Services Strategy is about helping every corner of the shire share in the social and economic benefits of tourism, according to Mayor Gary Cleveland.
Time to provide feedback on the draft strategy has been extended by one month to September 1 after a petition was tabled at the July meeting from residents in Cobram concerned the plan would result in the demise of the Cobram Visitor Information Centre.
The draft 2017-2019 Moira Visitors Services Strategy recommends the Yarrawonga Visitor Information Centre (VIC) be the only one to retain its current accreditation, with the Barmah Forest Heritage and Education Centre to be operated as an unaccredited VIC and no recommendations for the future of centres in Cobram and Numurkah.
“The draft strategy is about achieving the best bang for rate payer bucks,” Mayor Cleveland said.
“When we looked at this data and the market trends we can see why so many of our neighbouring councils have moved to only one accredited centre and invested their funds in boosting their online delivery, marketing and partnerships with local business and tourism operators.
“Our local communities are often not aware of the full breadth of our programs and campaigns because they are not targeting locals – they are targeting potential visitors located outside of the shire. The draft strategy provides an opportunity for locals to consider the full mix and share their ideas.”
Mayor Cleveland said he was pleased to see the draft strategy had generated wide ranging conversations involving the community and tourism operators right across the shire.
“Every corner of the Moira Shire has the potential to share in the social and economic benefits of tourism,” he said.
“That’s why we are seeking feedback on a package of draft proposals to update and strengthen visitor services for the entire shire.
“Over the next month we encourage visitors and locals to share their ideas.
“The first priority has to be getting people to visit the shire. Thanks to online and social media this marketing effort begins well before visitors leave their homes.
“Once we get them here, the proposed recommendations build on what already happens when visitors ask friends and family or local retail staff for the best fishing spot, to recommend a great place to eat or are looking for ideas on what to do once they arrive in the shire.”
The draft strategy does not recommend any changes to council’s current tourism funding of more than $1 million each year.
Copies of the draft Visitor Services Strategy are available online www.moira.vic.gov.au and hard copies are on display at council’s service centres in Cobram and Yarrawonga as well as Visitor Information Centres across the shire.
Feedback can be provided online, by email and can be mailed or delivered to council’s service centres in Cobram and Yarrawonga.
Following the conclusion of the public feedback process, the draft strategy will be reviewed and provided to council for further consideration.