In­vest­ing in tourism

Strat­egy out­lines in­fra­struc­ture needs

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - By So­phie Burge

Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil has said it will in­vest in im­proved in­fra­struc­ture in an ef­fort to grow tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The in­vest­ment could in­clude a com­plete re­fur­bish­ment of the shire public toi­lets and a public trans­port sys­tem.

Ber­ri­gan Shire gen­eral man­ager Rowan Perkins said coun­cil’s $90,000 an­nual tourism al­lo­ca­tion would be used to progress both.

The lack of public trans­port and the re­stric­tion it places on the abil­ity to earn tourism dol­lars was high­lighted in the new draft tourism strat­egy.

Coun­cil has, how­ever, said the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a trans­port ser­vice would be a lower pri­or­ity at this stage.

The draft strat­egy was adopted by coun­cil to be put to public ex­hi­bi­tion at its meet­ing last week.

‘‘When it comes to up­grad­ing toi­lets, this is im­por­tant be­cause some peo­ple stop in towns on the ba­sis of having a toi­let,’’ he said.

‘‘If they stop, they might spend money in the towns. If we don’t spend the money this way, who will?’’.

Shire economic devel­op­ment of­fi­cer Mer­ran Socha said the plan also high­lights a com­mit­ment to con­tinue the town en­trance pro­jects and park up­grades.

Coun­cil has also iden­ti­fied a need for dig­i­tal tourism com­mu­ni­ca­tion to im­prove its reach to po­ten­tial visi­tors.

‘‘The strat­egy namely fo­cuses on the amenity of our towns – the phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture used by visi­tors such as boat ramps, public toi­lets and roads and the dig­i­tal plat­form be­ing de­vel­oped by the Mur­ray Re­gional Tourism Board,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve also no­ticed that there is an in­creas­ing de­mand to in­cor­po­rate dig­i­tal me­dia as part of tourism strate­gies.

‘‘If we don’t keep up to date with dig­i­tal me­dia we’re go­ing to be left be­hind with the ad­vance­ment of tech­nol­ogy.’’

Ms Socha said the devel­op­ment of a tourism strate­gic plan was timely for coun­cil. Its devel­op­ment co­in­cided with the es­tab­lish­ment of Mur­ray Re­gional Tourism as the peak tourism body for the Mur­ray re­gion and the demise of Sun Coun­try on the Mur­ray as coun­cil’s re­gional tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion.

She said it also aims to work within the ‘‘chang­ing op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment for tourism im­pacted by emerg­ing do­mes­tic tourism trends’’.

Ber­ri­gan Shire Mayor Bernard Curtin said the strat­egy sets out a clear plan for at­tract­ing more events, but said there are some chal­lenges still to be ad­dressed.

‘‘We do have an is­sue with trans­port and is­sues with the fluc­tu­at­ing Mur­ray River lev­els dur­ing peak hol­i­day times – th­ese things are very wor­ry­ing.

‘‘How­ever, if we can at­tract re­gional, state and per­haps na­tional events here it would be great.

‘‘We know we have the fa­cil­i­ties for them.’’

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