Investing in tourism
Strategy outlines infrastructure needs
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.’’