Ryan backs plan to strengthen tourism links
An expansive Greater Shepparton City Council strategy aiming to better push economic development and tourism to the region has been praised by Tatura resident and former councillor Kevin Ryan.
‘‘It’s a great addition to what council has been doing for the past 10 to 12 years,’’ Mr Ryan said.
‘‘It’s an exciting adjunct to becoming the sporting capital.’’
Mr Ryan detailed that there was a change of approach within the organisation about 12 years ago when it was decided continuing to increase rates was no longer feasible.
‘‘We thought if we became the sporting capital, it would bring people to the region,’’ he said.
Directions highlighted in the strategy, which was adopted last month, aimed to also better push dining, arts and culture in the region and fill the gaps that had been identified in the city’s sportheavy $44 million-a-year events calendar during the next four years.
Council investment attraction manager Geraldine Christou said some gaps in the region’s events program were being addressed to develop ‘‘a more rounded calendar’’ that focused on arts, culture and food events.
‘‘I think we can capitalise on our food bowl status a lot better,’’ she said.
Ms Christou pointed to the paddock-to-plate movement, better utilising ‘‘our beautiful homemade produce’’ and providing incentives for restaurants to look at whether they could better capitalise on the region’s food bowl status.
Within the strategy, it was highlighted the small towns of Tatura, Murchison and Dookie presented opportunities to attract holiday leisure visitors who are drawn to the amenity and lifestyle of these villages.
Mr Ryan said the strategy’s push to further improve the linkages between Tatura Park and the town centre was a step in the right direction.
‘‘One has only got to go to Tatura Park and see the amount of people that come along to the events there,’’ he said.
‘‘And they’re often coming one day earlier and spending the day shopping in Shepparton.’’
The strategy also outlined that the council would investigate the opportunity to expand the role and presence of a Tatura War Camps museum.
The action detailed undertaking a feasibility study into the establishment of Tatura War Camps as a premium attraction in the region, which could service national and international markets.
The investigations would look into the purchase of one of the war camp sites to establish an interpretive attraction; investment into a new facility or expansion of an existing facility; identification of a market demand for the facility and; options for improving the offer.
The strategy outlined that a community and council working group would be established to oversea the feasibility study.
Finally, council will continue to promote the attraction of a quality large motel facility in Tatura, which Mr Ryan said was very much required.
‘‘Lots of people wouldn’t realise it, but when things like International Dairy Week are on there’s people who have to stay around 70 km from Shepparton because there’s no accommodation,’’ he said.
‘‘People always talk about the hotels in Shepparton, but every weekend they’ve always got their no vacancy signs on.
‘‘Because we’ve always got something on with all these major events.’’