Tourism will be a big topic at Nambucca Shire Council’s meeting tomorrow (Thursday) night .
Following its deferral last November, councillors will now decide on the future use of the Nambucca Heads Visitor Information Centre (VIC).
Six expressions of interest have been received: Lifetime Connect, Nambucca River House Boats, Nambucca Valley Craft and Art Incorporated, Beatrice Meitanas, TAFE NSW Macksville Campus and Leckie Law.
In her report Manager Community Development, Coral Hutchinson, recommended Lifetime Connect as the preferred applicant.
“Council may choose to continue business as usual, however with the imminent bypass of Nambucca Heads and Macksville, this is likely to only work in the short-term,” Ms Hutchinson wrote.
“The proposal by Lifetime Connect provides the VIC with a future and at the same time provides an expanded role to the resident community. Further, it allows Council to move from direct service delivery to a more strategic role in tourism.”
Lifetime Connect is also proposing to apply for accreditation under the Visitor Information Centre network.
General Manager, Michael Coulter, said in his opinion the Lifetime Connect proposal provided a “win/win situation by offering a continuity of the current tourism information service (with volunteers) while also allowing the organisation another outlet to service their many local clients”.
“This would not only leave the council $5000 better off but also free up the Tourism Coordinator to focus on raising our digital presence,” Mr Coulter said.
That digital presence will be debated with the recommendation that a new tourism site be created, co-ordinated by the Tourism Co-ordinator in collaboration with Council’s Information Technology staff and the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association Incorporated.
Ms Hutchinson said with the changes in the digital tourism landscape a high quality and well maintained digital presence was essential.
“The existing website is looking dated compared to current designs … and the current trend is for operators to manage their own online presence.
“The new website would simply provide links to operator websites and not a booking service.”
Finally, the council will discuss a request by Macksville Ex-Services Club to establish a Level 3 Visitor Information Centre, making it another touch point for visitors to the shire.
* Nambucca Valley Tourism Association representative Dave Banks will speak against the VIC recommendation. Attempts were made to contact him but no response has been received as yet.