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Tourism: Thinking outside of the box

As Eurobodalla Tourism reconsider their gameplan to encourage new visitors to the region using social media and pushing their "all kinds of natural" images, blogs and videos there is much that we, as individuals, can also do that is 'out of the box'. A prime example of one person's passion of the area reaching far beyond the boundaries of the region can be found in the photography of Josh Burkinshaw. have cast this image (above), captured by Josh, of the Tomaga River mouth at Mossy Point to their 8.5million followers on Facebook and 4.4 million followers on Instagram with the caption: “You’re looking at a true slice of Eurobodalla - South Coast NSW paradise “ “IG/josh_burkinshaw_images is making us crave some fresh air and a paddle on the crystal clear waters of the Tomaga River in Visit NSW pristine Eurobodalla region. Located four hours’ drive from, this relaxed seaside region is heaven for kayakers, canoeists and stand up paddle boarders with four major river systems, 20 lakes and 83 beaches waiting to be explored. Hire a kayak with Region X Unspoilt Experiences Batemans Bay NSW at the Mossy Point boat shed to spend the day soaking up nature in this idyllic spot!” Josh is an exceptional photographer with his own extensive international following on social media. There is little doubt that he is to be commended for continued showcasing the incredible beauty of the South East NSW. Via his passion of photography his exceptional images contribute to the natural ’marketing’ of the region well beyond any advertising campaign while reminding us all that “You’re looking at a true slice of Eurobodalla - South Coast NSW paradise “

As a result of the images posted by Josh and the many other exceptional photographers we have in the South East there are many new visitors drawn to the area to enjoy the beauty depicted across social media. But what to offer visitors when they arrive? Finally the Eurobodalla Tourism team have desisted from their relentless marketing of showcasing seals at Montague Island on their brochures and website realising that only a very small percentage of overall visitors to the region can afford the trip. Eurobodalla has always been a budget destination which has been its drawcard and while there are premium activities such as joyflights and snorkling with seals the marketing of these has been at the detriment of not showcasing the many other nil-cost activities. Initially the marketing by Eurobodalla Tourism was for its members who paid a handsome membership fee to be promoted. Only members were promoted in brochures and on the Eurobodalla Tourism website and only members were promoted by Information officers when asked for advice on local accommodation options or activity packages. That has since changed, fortunately, with tourism operators now encouraged to be members of the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse and to log their details their so it can be sucked down to fill a template on Visit NSW or the Eurobodalla Tourism website. Sadly only those who are aware or make the effort to register are represented. But we are more than anything able to be delivered into a NSW State owned template with stock photos, a few lines of description, a location map and a hyperlink. While the South East has historically been about the beach and fishing we are far more than that now and the demands of our visitors have changed, along with technology. BEWARE OF MUGGLES. You won't see them out there as they are elusive and try as best as they can to be invisible but to the trained eye you will find that the region is being over-run by geo-cachers. Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world. Geocaching is a great holiday activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family at little cost with the added benefit of encouraging exploration of a region to spots that usually go unexplored. There are caches across the shire to be found - many are available to discover for free with others available for Geocache members at a nominal membership fee. The caches are well hidden with clues in what is more like a world-wide treasure hunt and the popularity of geo-caching sees new domestic and international visitors to the area on a daily basis going about a holiday tourism activity that is well outside of the standard 'tourism box'.

A RICH HISTORY TO CELEBRATE The Eurobodalla has a rich history to celebrate. Due to the efforts of local historians and community members we have seen the introduction of history information boards erected across the shire. Initially introduced by the Tuross Head Progress Association to celebrate their own local history the signs have spread to other villages and locations. Though seemingly controlled by Council's Heritage section the signs reflect the research, knowledge and efforts made by community members wishing to proactively include visitors and locals to enjoy and learn more of the past and how it connects to the present.

Above: some of the information signs erected and paid for by the Tuross Head community that are located around the township The South Coast Travel Guide website has seen a marked increase in the visitation to its history pages as well as its Drives and Walks. Most likely as a consequence of Covid where visitors are looking for less crowded options and activities to do during the cooler months. The next project for the The South Coast Travel Guide will be to establish a digital walking tour of Bodalla that will also use information boards to celebrate history as well as videos and audio driven by QR Codes. There is much to celebrate in Bodalla and the community driven initiative will be a quality multimedia example that will then be adopted in Tuross Head.

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