Council funded tourism services across the Bundaberg Region came under the microscope in a review commissioned by Council.
Bundaberg Regional Council commissioned a full review in October of its Visitor Information Centres and associated tourism services with a view to ensuring ratepayers and industry stakeholders are receiving value for money in the operation of these facilities.
The Stafford Report, a comprehensive 100 page document, has been provided for an initial Council briefing which has resulted in staff being tasked with exploring the report recommendations in detail.
Council’s Economic Development portfolio spokesperson, Cr. Greg Barnes said Council was mindful of the costs associated with running its three Visitor Information Centres at Childers, Bundaberg and Gin Gin.
Cr. Barnes said the report had clearly identified that in the past five years there had been a steady decline in numbers accessing information in person while online activity had trended upwards.
“Over the past five years visitor numbers at Bundaberg had fallen around 16% to 40,000 annually while the figures for Gin Gin (8,300) and Childers (20,600) had dropped by 18% and 3% respectively.”
Cr. Barnes said it was obvious some restructuring was required in the delivery of tourism services.
“Council has received a number of recommendations encased in the report and these include moving towards the use of technology such as touch screens and an enhanced online strategy for the delivery of tourist information.”
He said visitor information centres did not make money and were among the broad range of community services conducted by Council.
“As a Council we are looking at best use of available funding and this will mean, if necessary, there will be changes in the future as to how Council delivers its tourism services.”
“Where there will be changes to services currently provided it is anticipated that relevant Councillors and staff will be consulting with the affected communities in the coming months prior to the formal adoption of any recommendations by Council”
Cr. Barnes said Council was aware that tourism was a huge economic driver for the region but the report had identified that there are more effective methods of promoting the Bundaberg Region.
“Council will explore these options in order that a strategy can be in place for inclusion with the forthcoming budget review.”