Next phase for tourism plan

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By JUSTIN JENVEY

INDIGO Shire Coun­cil says their draft tourism strat­egy has at­tracted some valu­able feed­back dur­ing in­for­ma­tion ses­sions con­ducted over re­cent weeks.

Di­rec­tor de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­nity ser­vices Mark Florence said there had al­ready been ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity in­put into the cre­ation of the Indigo Des­ti­na­tion Game Changer 2023 strat­egy, prior to public drop-in ses­sions this month.

“This early feed­back from the com­mu­nity was in­valu­able and helped us fi­nalise the draft strat­egy that we have now put to the com­mu­nity in th­ese re­cent 10 ses­sions cross the shire,” he said.

“Those who at­tended gave good feed­back and we had some pleas­ing and con­struc­tive dis­cus­sions on the con­tent.

“Some were ex­cited about such a com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy, some wanted more de­tail on spe­cific projects.”

The five-year strat­egy re­de­fines the way tourism will be de­liv­ered in the Indigo Shire with am­bi­tious and mea­sur­able growth ob­jec­tives for the vis­i­tor econ­omy.

Vi­sions for the town­ships and sur­round­ing ar­eas of Beechworth, Chiltern, Yackan­dan­dah and Ruther­glen have been set out in the doc­u­ment.

In Beechworth at­trac­tions such as the Beechworth Gaol, Burke Mu­seum and the Court­house repo­si­tioned as con­tem­po­rary and en­gag­ing ex­pe­ri­ences are an­tic­i­pated to sub­stan­tially grow vis­i­ta­tion.

The vi­sion for Chiltern is that it will be a must-stop des­ti­na­tion for cou­ples and fam­i­lies with en­hance­ments to the town’s her­itage streetscape and the lake precinct while in­vig­o­rat­ing the Chiltern Mount Pi­lot Na­tional Park as a na­ture-based des­ti­na­tion, with im­prove­ments to walk­ing and cy­cling itin­er­ar­ies.

In­vest­ment in cy­cle tourism, arts, food and bou­tique ac­com­mo­da­tion has been iden­ti­fied to sup­port growth in vis­i­ta­tion and en­hance the live­abil­ity of the Yackan­dan­dah area with stronger con­nec­tions be­tween the area’s towns and Lake Hume.

The growth of Ruther­glen will be sup­ported by an un­der­cur­rent of in­no­va­tive and creative ex­pe­ri­ences, in­clud­ing dy­namic and con­tem­po­rary events, that will at­tract new vis­i­tor mar­kets to ex­plore the re­gion while strength­en­ing links to the re­gion’s nat­u­ral as­sets.

Mr Florence said re­cent com­mu­nity feed­back in­cluded more her­itage fo­cus for Beechworth and in­clu­sion of a Ruther­glen cy­cle loop.

The Save Beechworth Her­itage com­mu­nity ac­tion group be­lieves some of the “game changer” ini­tia­tives could take away from his­toric na­ture of the town.

“It’s dis­turb­ing to hear that The Beechworth Gaol, the Burke Mu­seum, and Court­house will be repo­si­tioned as con­tem­po­rary ex­pe­ri­ences,” sec­re­tary Heidi Free­man said.

“In other words they will be mod­ern­ized and lose their 19th cen­tury ap­peal.

“Add to this, the His­toric Precinct, Burke Mu­seum and his­toric Town Hall are to be ‘Pri­or­ity In­vest­ment Projects’ there­fore sub­ject to mod­erni­sa­tion too.”

Recog­ni­tion of a need for younger au­di­ences and vis­i­tors, agree­ment on a need for more in­no­va­tive and ex­cit­ing events, con­cern about a fo­cus on growth au­di­ence seg­ments over ha­bit­ual day trip vis­i­tors and con­cerns about what con­tem­po­rary her­itage ex­pe­ri­ences will look like were also brought up Mr Florence said.

“Our tourism team will re­view all the feed­back and pro­vide a brief­ing re­port back to coun­cil­lors,” he said.

“The fi­nal tourism strat­egy will come to the Au­gust coun­cil meet­ing for con­sid­er­a­tion and hope­fully adop­tion, then we can be­gin the ex­cit­ing work of im­ple­men­ta­tion.”

HIS­TORIC: The Indigo Des­ti­na­tion Game Changer 2023 draft strat­egy out­lines plans for at­trac­tions such as the Old Court­house at Beechworth to of­fer new con­tem­po­rary and en­gag­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

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