The Mirror News

BANG FOR OUR BUCK

• Council voted 5 for and 4 against the recommendation.
• Lynn Atkinson with Mayor Ray Argento in Council Chambers.

Support for Foster VIC

AFTER a very stressful process there is some good news for VIC’s in Foster and Korumburra.

South Gippsland Shire Council will support the Foster Visitor Information Centre, consider options for the Korumburra Visitor Information Centre and develop a digital tourism strategy following its meeting this week.

The upshot though is that change is coming.

“Let’s hope that it’s not at the expense of volunteers who have over the years displayed pride in what they are doing,” said Foster resident, Ralph Gallagher. “They are the ones who talk to the people who visit our place.”

It is that face to face contact that is so important according to both the Foster and Korumburra VIC representatives.

At the ordinary meeting at South Gippsland Shire Council chambers on Wednesday June 28 Lyn Atkinson Acting President of the Foster Community Association said that she was representing both the FCA and the Foster Chamber of Commerce.

“The FCA and the Chamber together support the review report’s recommendation, which we believe is a practical and sustainable solution to streamlining and supporting tourism resources in a financially tight environment,” Susan said.

She then said they support the need for a better digital solution for tourism but that it was not the sole fix for improving tourism and that an integrated approach is required.

Councillor Brunt asked the questions, “What is the best bang for the buck?”

“How do we transition to a digital age?”

There was a lot of talk at the meeting about ambassadors and digitisation but none of the Councillors seemed to be able to articulate what that might look like.

It is a good thing they are taking the time to figure it all out before closing down the Korumburra VIC.

David Amor from Korumburra and Noelene Cosson representing the Korumburra Business Association were both dismayed by the original recommendation, which was to close down the Korumburra VIC.

Shirley Cowling also spoke on behalf of the Korumburra VIC and implored the Council to think about using more volunteers rather than close it down completely.

The recommendation was amended before being voted on and the following press release stated that Council resolved to:

  • Continue to support a fully accredited Visitor Information Centre at Foster
  • Defer consideration of the Korumburra Visitor Information Centre service review
  • Receive a future report, which considers the required transitional arrangements, including development of a digital tourism strategy, prior to determining the outcomes of the Korumburra Visitor Information Centre service review.

South Gippsland Shire Mayor Councillor Ray Argento recognised tourism was a major contributor to the South Gippsland economy. “Visitation in South Gippsland is estimated to be at one million visitors per year who invest their time and money in the region.

“Council is aware that the tourism sector is changing and that we need to adapt to new industry standards such as digital tourism.

“However it was determined that we cannot close any of our visitor information services in the interim, we must first consider new ways to attract visitors to our region,” said the Mayor.

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