Welcome to this week’s editorial, Welcome to the first day of summer. While the weather forecast is a little dodgy for this weekend the forecast for visitors to the South East this summer is pretty good with solid bookings coming in to our holiday accommodation providers. The tourism season is vitally important to our region as it is basically our sole industry when you consider the breakdown of the industries we have. While it might get a few laughs around the table the reality is that we have become a welfare dependent region due to poor growth, poor transport and the seasonality of our primary trading period being limited to the warmer months with many residents returning to unemployment or under-employment during the low season. The Beagle had a long hard look at what could be done to extend the tourism season and to better market our region as an all year round destination. We looked at the industry tourism websites and saw what they were doing and very quickly discovered what they were not doing as well. Though the Eurobodalla Tourism website has now changed its model it did exist to a certain extent for the promotion of its members and for the primary players in the tourism stakes. It was easy pickings promoting the primaries, The Big Four caravan Parks, the high achieving activities, the eateries that more often featured on TV cooking programs. If anything there was a backwardness with very little change to the content of their website nor to the content or design of their annual holiday brochure that often arrived on stands too late. In turn the budgets to service Visitor Information Centres were reduced and the division then moved to come under a Director that has no Tourism background with the key Tourism Manager position advertised with, as yet, no uptake. Things were looking grim from the outside to many in the local tourism sector who rely on informed, professional out-of-area promotion. It was becoming clear the old model was broken. From all this came the launching of the South Coast Travel Guide, a comprehensive, one stop website that promotes the whole region, promotes ALL activities, accommodation and service providers and promotes ALL available eateries. To market the website in time for summer there are cinema advertisements, advertorial articles in western area newspapers, radio interviews and extensive social media campaigns. The organic numbers arriving at the website via search engines is also solid which augers well for the summer ahead as we definitely have the attention of the holidaying and travelling public that the South East is a special part of the world. One interesting point in the development and the promotion of the Eurobodalla is that no-one actually knows what a Eurobodalla is and outsiders are NOT searching for it. And they aren’t searching for #unspoilt either. They want the South East learning that the North Coast is now #spoilt. So the South Coast Travel Guide is promoting our food, pristine beauty, great accommodation, stunning drives, great beaches, history and then more food. If we build it they will come—and we need them. Until next, lei
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