Tourists eyed as vol­un­teers

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Tourists are be­ing tar­geted for vol­un­teer re­cruit­ment un­der a new State Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive in the North West.

In the Pil­bara, wi-fi hotspots such as Welcome Rest Stops and the Leisure­plex will be used to en­cour­age tourists and lo­cals to vol­un­teer at a wide range of or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fri­day said the ser­vice was po­ten­tially a huge boon for vol­un­teer groups in the re­gion.

“There’s an enor­mous pool of ex­per­tise that wan­ders straight past our doorstep and we’re not al­ways good at tak­ing ad­van­tage of that,” he said.

“If it is well pub­li­cised I can see this be­ing a real fea­ture on peo­ple who are look­ing to stay longer in the Pil­bara’s travel itin­er­ar­ies.

“It is an unan­tic­i­pated use (of the wi-fi hotspots) but one that now it’s put in front of us we thought, ‘why didn’t we think of that ear­lier’.”

Mr Fri­day said it was now up to vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tions to get them­selves reg­is­tered with Volunteering WA to take ad­van­tage of the ser­vice.

“For tourists to re­mem­ber their time in the Pil­bara as a time where their skills were val­ued and ap­pre­ci­ated and to meet friends be­yond fleet­ing car­a­van park vis­its, it means that they are more likely to come back next win­ter,” he said.

The State Gov­ern­ment has pro­vided $15,000 to the PRC to im­ple­ment the tar­geted vol­un­teer re­cruit­ment.

Volunteering Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son said the re­cruit­ment strat­egy would be con­sid­ered a pi­lot pro­gram for the rest of the State.

“We are blessed with a large self­drive tourism mar­ket that has a sub­stan­tial pro­por­tion of re­tirees,” he said.

“This group rep­re­sents a large pool of skill and ex­pe­ri­ence travers­ing our re­gion and they are of­ten will­ing to make a vol­un­teer con­tri­bu­tion to the lo­cal econ­omy how­ever they lack means of ac­cess­ing volunteering op­por­tu­ni­ties. Mr Simp­son said if suc­cess­ful he would like to see the pro­gram rolled out across Western Aus­tralia.

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