Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Tourism Model Is Up in the Air

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Tourism Model Is Up in the Air

Article excerpt

Byline: Jenna Cairney

Tourism funding

In 2012/13 the council funded Clarence River Tourism with $544,000

$170,400 of this is from a commercial rates levy.

Tourism benefits

On average 138,000 people visit the regionas two visitor centres.

Of those, 22% stay an additional night, which means $3.4 million for the local economy.

Of the 138,000, 59% visit an additional attraction.

THE youngest staff member is 23 and the oldest is 85.

Volunteers have given countless hours.

These Clarence River Tourism staff, along with all the people in between, face an uncertain future after Clarence Valley Council decided it could no longer continue the current funding model when the current memorandum of understanding expires in June 2014.

For the first time in 38 years the association will no longer be funded by the council and the council will hire a consultant to review its tourism services before it calls for tenders next year.

Council officers sought legal advice regarding the arrangement it had with Clarence River Tourism and was told the memorandum of understanding did not comply with the Local Government Act and that if the council wanted to continue this kind of arrangement it would need to go out to tender.

For Clarence River Tourism manger Jenny Massie, the move was a shock and she only found out about it the Friday before the meeting.

aWe have no opportunity to influence this decision,a she said.

aThatas a done deal.

aBut now we need to get involved in this review and we need to make sure we donat go backwards.

aThis shouldnat be about cutting costs as there should be a return on investment if the right strategies are in place.a

Ms Massie said this was the fourth review that Valley tourism had seen in 12 years and that shead like to see stakeholders have their say on how they see the future tourism service model. …

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