Next phase for tourism plan
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.