Tourism Development: Volunteers Recognised, New Tourism Development Officer and More Opportunities to Boost Visitor Numbers
The recent Tourism Forum jointly organised by the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce and Dungog Regional Tourism provided council with an opportunity to highlight its key tourism development areas:
1) Visitor Information Centre (VIC) services;
2) Tourism Product Development; and
3) Tourism Assets and Infrastructure.
- VIC services in the shire are largely provided by volunteers, some of whom have been actively
involved in this delivery since the mid-1990s. Volunteers including Tony and Trish Boatwright, Joyce Byron, Diane Denton, Margaret Flannery, Breck Hayward, Marion Stuart and Dawn Studdert have been recognised for the critical role they play in advancing shire tourism 7 days per week, 360 days per year.
In addition, council employs a fulltime Tourism Officer. After 25 years passionately promoting the shire and managing VIC services, Wendy Farrow is embarking on a well-deserved retirement.
A new position of Tourism Development Officer is currently being advertised. This role will continue to provide key services to the tourism sector including the promotion of events, regular outreach to tourism operators and the recruitment and coordination of VIC volunteers.
- Council is actively involved in planning and designing new promotional tools and strategies to boost visitor numbers in Dungog Shire. These include the reinvigoration of the VIC experience, with the installation of renewed exhibitions and visitor maps.
We are also working to better develop and define the southern Barrington Tops destination, along with other emerging anchors such as the Dungog Common, and leveraging opportunities offered by the planned expansion of Newcastle International Airport in 2023.
- This year will see a detailed Tourism Assets and Infrastructure Audit undertaken to plan for future view and rest stops along our shire’s picturesque road networks, as well as working hand in hand with Dungog Regional Tourism to improve tourism signage.
Council will continue to support local organisations and event organisers with their planning and grant funding applications, as well as working to activate opportunities to increase the number of multi-use trails, along with encouraging investments in camping and holiday parks.
Economic Development: 4-year Plan on Track
Dungog Shire’s next 4-year Economic Development Plan has commenced. An Advisory Group comprising of shire business leaders was appointed by council in February and expressions of interest called for interested business owners and residents to participate in one-on-one interviews on this topic. More than 30 interviews have been conducted, with the plan to be presented to council in the coming months.