Berrigan Shire says tourism organisation needs time to develop, while local tourism stakeholders say Sun Country on the Murray must do more to help to promote and grow the region’s appeal.
Langford House Bed and Breakfast owner Spencer Rutherford labelled the Sun Country on the Murray as ‘‘just another ad hoc organisation’’.
He said tourism stakeholders deserve a more proactive approach from the organisation, which was appointed to manage tourism marketing by Berrigan Shire Council.
Berrigan Shire Council funds the organisation on behalf of the community, and maintains it is needed to allow for a coordinated approach to tourism in the Southern Riverina region.
Mr Rutherford, who developed Tocumwal’s Langford House B&B with his wife Corrie in June, said he wanted to see something more meaningful come out of Sun Country on the Murray.
‘‘It seems to be another ad hoc body which has good intentions, but no one seems to be there driving it.
‘‘My first contact with Sun Country on the Murray was through the information centre, and I was told wonderful things were going to happen.
‘‘I was told my information would be included on the website, and it took two months to even show up.
‘‘Everyone wants the same things, but people are stacking up their own little fan pile and no one is talking to each other.
‘‘I thought this organisation was about a group entity, about maximising and improving tourism.
‘‘I was hopeful the partnership (with Sun Country) would allow us all to help move things together.’’
Berrigan Shire Mayor Bernard Curtin said the aim of the Sun Country on the Murray partnership was to bring all the tourism organisations under one umbrella, but stressed the plan was still in its early stages.
He said each town’s business chamber or development committee was the conduit between tourism stakeholders and the organisation itself.
‘‘Council has gone with Sun Country on the Murray to ensure our towns are supported, but people have to realise that it’s only six months old at the moment.
‘‘A lot of things have already been done, but there are still a lot of things yet to be done.
‘‘This has been a big operation and we need 12 months to see how it has gone, then we’ll do a review.
‘‘Council monitors the objectives of Sun Country at its meeting each month, and to date we have reached all targets of the strategic plan.
‘‘Council also meets with with local chambers of commerce four times a year, where Sun Country can be discussed. We are happy to talk to anyone who may have concerns.’’
Council contributed $40,000 to the Sun Country on the Murray this financial year, as well as $50,000 to the Tocumwal Information Centre
Mr Rutherford suggested a semi-regular meeting between Sun Country on the Murray, Berrigan Shire and the Southern Riverina tourism stakeholders, ‘‘even if it’s only once a year’’.
‘‘We need stakeholder meetings, and Sun Country have got to try and lead the agenda.
‘‘They need to ask the questions, including what we would like to see happen, and try and qualify it.’’
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