The Snowy Valleys Council is in the middle of developing their Destination Management Plan for the newly merged shire, which will be the blueprint for tourism activities going into the future.
The plan will build on the tourism plan developed by the former Tumut Council that was not put into action due to the merger. Snowy Valleys Division Manager Strategy and Place Georgia MacDougall said the plan would feed into the wider Riverina-Murray Destination Network, which has replaced the Snowy Mountains as our parent tourism region.
“I think there’s benefits in having linkages with the Riverina-Murray network, particularly around our food and wine offerings,” she said.
The Riverina has been quite successful as capitalising on their slogan as “Australia’s food bowl,” with events like Taste Riverina drawing more than 35,000 visitors to the region.
The Snowy Valleys’ beer, wine, cider, apples, berries, and other fresh produce would seem a natural fit for that tourism strategy.
However, Georgia said that doesn’t mean we’re disengaging from the Snowy Mountains entirely.
“It doesn’t preclude us from being involved with Tourism Snowy Mountains promotional activities when they suit us,” she said.
“What we found previously was that a lot of the focus for Tourism Snowy Mountains was on the resorts on the other side of the mountains, and the feedback from our tourism operators was that we weren’t seeing much involvement for us.
“So when it suits us and when it works for our operators we can be involved in the Snowy Mountains activities, but certainly I think there’s a lot more synergies with the Riverina-Murray.”
The Destination Management Plan has been outsourced to consultants Urban Enterprise, who are also doing the broader Riverina-Murray Destination Management Plan.
They are holding a Tumut industry workshop next Thursday, November 9, and a Tumbarumba industry workshop next Friday, November 10, with a local business survey taking place throughout November.
The business survey can be filled out online at www.snowyvalleys.nsw.gov.au/Have-Your-Say/Snowy-Valleys-Destination-Management-Plan.
The plan will be on public display available for comment in January and February next year, and is scheduled to be adopted in March. Georgia said one of its roles will be to crystallise how tourism strategy is going to work post-amalgamation.
“We still don’t know if we’re going to brand as one region or if its going to be separate Tumut and Tumbarumba branding, so that will be something that falls out of this document,” she said.
New tourism position created
Along with the development of the Snowy Valleys Destination Management Plan, the council is also creating a new position to focus on tourism, ‘Coordinator Tourism and Economic Development.’
This person won’t be responsible for creating the tourism strategy, but they will take a leading role in implementing it. Snowy Valleys Division Manager Strategy and Place Georgia MacDougall said they are looking for someone with a lot of know-how.
“We really want someone with specialist tourism expertise, and someone who can really guide tourism operations,” she said.
“It should be someone who has a strong vision for tourism in our new council area.”
In the pre-election ‘Meet the Candidates’ meetings around the shire, one of the most frequently discussed issues was tourism: what the shire’s best assets for visitors are, and how we get people to come here and spend their money.
Georgia said the council bureaucracy was taking this clear interest on board by creating a position with that specific purview.
“We’re conscious that tourism is a big priority for this new council, and we’re trying to set things up so we can be really effective in delivering that for the council and the community,” she said.
“This is a new position within the organisation, and it’s really come about because the community and the councillors expressed a pretty strong desire for tourism and economic development to be a focus for the new council.”
The council is also currently looking for a WHS Strategy and Injury Management Officer.