A new destination plan aims to put the region's tourism services and experiences into a higher gear and attract a more diverse range of visitors to the area.JENNA BISHOP May 20, 2014 3:56am
Grand plan: Greater Shepparton Mayor, Jenny Houlihan, Goulburn River Valley Tourism chair Fran Bailey and Member for Benalla Bill Sykes yesterday launched a plan to increase tourism in the region.
The Goulburn River Valley Tourism Destination Management Plan was launched at Mitchelton Wines near Nagambie yesterday.
It aims to strengthen tourism services, products and experiences and capitalise on the region’s natural strengths.
GRVT hopes the plan will identify and prioritise investment projects and identify opportunities to improve tourism services in its four council areas — City of Greater Shepparton and Strathbogie, Mitchell and Murrindindi shires.
City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Jenny Houlihan said the plan would highlight Shepparton as a tourism destination, rather than just a gateway.
‘‘It means we will get people experiencing our region and getting them to stay in the region, not just travelling through it,’’ she said.
‘‘We want Shepparton to be seen as a place go, stop and stay.’’
Goulburn River Valley Tourism chairwoman Fran Bailey said the plan aimed to help the region develop to its full tourism potential.
‘We’ve been in low gear in the region for too long. We need to work together to establish a bigger and brighter future for the region,’’ she said.
Ms Bailey said the plan would help Shepparton transition from family-orientated attractions, such as the recent BMX Nationals championships, to attracting a variety of different tourists.
‘‘I’m very excited about the development of tourism opportunities for the region,’’ she said.
The plan identifies a stand-alone Shepparton Art Museum as one of the region’s key priority projects.
‘‘The Shepparton Art Museum will attract different groups of visitors and these different types of tourists will help grow the region,’’ Ms Bailey said.
The plan recommended action to develop scoping and feasibility studies, a business plan, location assessment, attract investment and acquire art and preparing a art museum masterplan.
The Destination Management Plan also identified a gap in Shepparton’s premium quality accommodation market.
It recommended assessment to identify development sites, including establishing a four-star or higher hotel of international quality.
‘‘It is also a major regional hub for business, conferences and events and often relies on destinations such as Tatura and Nagambie to accommodate overspill in its capacity during major business, sports or annual events,’’ the plan stated.
It also identified Shepparton’s river precinct as a development opportunity, citing improved access to the river area could diversify and increase tourism products and experiences on offer.
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