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Another month to have your say on draft Visitor Services Strategy

Publish Date: 04/08/2017

Moira Shire has extended the deadline for providing feedback on its draft Visitor Services Strategy until 1 September 2017.

Moira Shire Mayor Gary 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. That’s why we are seeking feedback on a package of draft proposals to update and strengthen visitor services for the entire Shire,” Mayor Cleveland said.

“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 proposes a package of five key recommendations that include

  • Ensuring we can promote our shire in other Visitor Information Centres across Australia by retaining an accredited VIC in Yarrawonga;
  • Allowing the Barmah Forest Heritage and Education Centre to develop its popular education and eco-tourism services without the burden of the inflexible accreditation requirements;
  • Developing  mobile and pop-up VICs to bring the local knowledge and passion of our visitor information staff and volunteers to community events anywhere in the shire and further afield to events and festivals in neighbouring shires and state capitals;
  • Building on the fact that many people visit our region to visit friends and family – so we will deliver a Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) Campaign empowering local residents to share their local knowledge and enthusiasm with visiting friends and relatives
  • Integrating visitor information services into local businesses through a network of Visitor Information Points (VIP) located anywhere from Bundalong to Barmah, Yalca to Yundool and with council providing resources, support and training to the participating businesses.

The draft strategy does not recommend any changes to council’s current tourism funding of more than $1 million each year

“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.”

Moira Shire Tourism Stats and Facts –

  • Tourism creates nearly 570 local jobs in the municipality;
  • More than 900,000 visitors travel to Sun Country on the Murray and spend close to $250 million here each year;
  • Nearly four out of ten visitors say visiting family and friends is their main purpose for their visit to Moira;
  • Council provides more than $1 million annual funding to support local tourism;
  • Operating and maintaining four accredited Visitor Information Centres absorbs around $590,000 of annual ratepayer funding – this doesn’t include the cost of the buildings;
  • Less than 25% of visitors call, email or drop into a VIC – less than 15% of visitors walk through the doors of one the four VICs in Moira Shire;
  • The internet and tourism websites are an integral part of the holiday planning and booking research;
  • Websites such as TripAdvisor are more influential than any accreditation scheme;
  • Visitors are increasingly seeking high-quality targeted information online 24 hours a day.
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.

It is anticipated the implementation of recommendations once approved by Council would take place over a period of up to two years.

For more information please phone Moira Shire Council on 5871 9222 or email info@moira.vic.gov.au.

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