Moira Shire Council has extended the deadline for providing feedback on its draft Visitor Services Strategy until September 1.
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,’’ Cr Cleveland 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,’’ Cr Cleveland said.
‘‘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 five key recommendations:
●Ensuring Moira Shire is promoted in other Visitor Information Centres across Australia by retaining an accredited Visitor Information Centre in Yarrawonga.
●Allowing the Barmah Forest Heritage and Education Centre to develop its popular education and ecotourism services without the burden of the inflexible accreditation requirements.
●Developing mobile and pop-up Visitor Information Centres to bring the local knowledge and passion of Moira’s 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 this region to visit friends and family, a Visiting Friends and Relatives campaign will empower 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 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 $1million each year. ‘‘The draft strategy is about achieving the best bang for ratepayer bucks,’’ Cr 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.’’
Copies of the draft Visitor Services Strategy are available online at 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 or 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, phone Moira Shire Council on 5871 9222 or email [email protected]