Eurobodalla Council advise that instead of having tourists drive to visitor centres for information, moves are afoot to meet them where they already are. Eurobodalla Council’s manager of strategic growth Elizabeth Rankin said “These days people rely heavily on local intel – that’s how they decide where to stay and what to do.”
“That authentic, personalised information is king, and contemporary approaches to visitor services engage and enable residents and businesses to share information. Everyone in Eurobodalla can play a role in getting the right information to the right people at the right time.”
Ms Rankin said "Even with knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, a comprehensive assessment of Eurobodalla’s two accredited Visitor Information Centres (VICs) demonstrated the existing model was broken."
As a result of the review, Eurobodalla councillors resolved in December 2020 to close the Visitor Information Centre in Batemans Bay on 28 February this year. One full-time position has been redeployed within the tourism team and the other made redundant. Once the lease for the Narooma Visitor Information Centre, (currently run by the
Montague Art & Craft Society Inc) expires in May, future lessees will not be required to provide visitor services.
“The Visitor Information Centres were set up decades ago, when people made travel decisions quite differently,” Ms Rankin said.
“Surveys found that less than 10 per cent of visitors to Eurobodalla use the VICs, and they found it hard to find information, yet most of our tourism budget is going to VICs and printed material.”
Ms Rankin said it was time to take information to visitors instead of making visitors travel to information centres, with personal recommendations supported by online information at the forefront. “Plenty of businesses and individuals are already fully engaged with visitors and using excellent new online resources to support that,” she said.
Above: Kevin McAsh, of Signature Oysters, is one of the many new unofficial pop-up "Tourism Information Booths" to offer holiday and personal recommendations of what to do, where to eat, where to visit, where to stay and all the other local information normally found in a traditional bricks and mortar Information Centre.