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Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

OUR lo­cal TV sta­tion re­ported this week on the low­er­ing tourism dol­lar com­ing into our area. Many busi­ness own­ers were in­ter­viewed and be­moaned the fact we are not get­ting as many tourists as we have had in the past. Bund­aberg re­quires a de­lib­er­ate de­tour off the north south route and we need to do some­thing pretty spe­cial to en­tice tourists to make that de­ci­sion. There are lit­er­ally mil­lions of dol­lars go­ing up the Bruce Hwy in the form of moto-tourists who give Bund­aberg a wide berth be­cause it is known as RV un­friendly. The re­cent de­ci­sion by the coun­cil to close the oth­er­wise un­clear overnight park­ing on Univer­sity Dr op­po­site the air­port by erect­ing pro­ba­tion sig­nage as well as in other ar­eas around the re­gion has sent a clear mes­sage among those look­ing for a low cost ac­com­mo­da­tion al­ter­na­tive. The coun­cil’s pol­icy is based on the pro­tec­tion of the lo­cal car­a­van park in­dus­try, which pro­vides for a cer­tain sec­tor of the trav­el­ling pub­lic. Af­ter all, the parks sup­port the coun­cil by pay­ing rates but one has to ques­tion the cre­ation of a pro­tected in­dus­try. The trav­el­ling pub­lic, and in par­tic­u­lar the Grey No­mads, have a lim­ited bud­get. If we sup­port a pro­tected in­dus­try which is now charg­ing quite a high fee for RV sites we are also mak­ing the de­ci­sion to limit the amount those tourists will have avail­able to spend in the other busi­nesses of the area. I am sure the busi­ness com­mu­nity has not fully re­alised this fact. The Camper­van and Mo­torhome Club of Aus­tralia has es­tab­lished a set of self con­tained cri­te­ria and a code of con­duct for peo­ple who wish to visit an area with nil or low cost camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties where the mem­bers do not drop any dis­charge from their RV. The sys­tem is avail­able to any of the mo­torhome and car­a­van clubs. Many re­gions are open­ing ar­eas specif­i­cally set aside for this pur­pose and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a higher level of pros­per­ity for all the lo­cal busi­nesses. Car­a­van parks have an op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide ar­eas with­out power, wa­ter or ameni­ties at a ba­sic fee but, up un­til now, they have not seen the need to com­pete; rather they have taken the route of com­plain­ing when com­pe­ti­tion is sug­gested. On the other hand they are very happy to in­crease their cabin ac­com­mo­da­tion in di­rect com­pe­ti­tion with the es­tab­lished mo­tel in­dus­try. With the Coun­cil elec­tions upon us next month I would en­cour­age busi­ness own­ers to be ask­ing the can­di­dates what their poli­cies are in re­spect to at­tract­ing the moto-tourist to the area.

Peter Kelly

Father Chris Ri­ley I’ve seen first-hand the value of education.

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