Hindmarsh Shire Council Tourism and Economic Development Officer Jeff Woodward conducted the first of the shire’s information nights at Dimboola on Monday Night at the Dimboola Riverside Caravan Park.
The group of about 20 in attendance heard what is happening with tourism in Hindmarsh and how they are moving forward in building a tourism industry in the Hindmarsh Shire.
Tourism is a part of the Hindmarsh Shire Council master plan to drought proof the community.
The key takeaway from the meeting was that tourism is everybody’s business.
Mr Woodward said, ”we as a community need to embrace our tourist and give them an experience they want to go away and talk about.”
“This means greeting people in the street and start conversations about what we have to offer them while they are in the area,” he said.
“Good news travels fast in the tourism industry and bad news travels quicker,” Mr Woodward said.
“Is important that we put on a good appearance and presentation to the tourists who visit our communities”.
The gray hair nomads are the ones who want to get ‘off track’ and discover new experiences.
Hindmarsh Shire Council is a member of the Wimmera Mallee Tourism-Southern Region and compete with Grampians Tourism that are supported by the larger southern councils.
“Our job is to encourage the tourist from the Grampians and into our region”, he said.
There was much discussion around Pink Lake and how VicRoads manage the site after this season where a sudden upsurge of interest has taken place.
“We are working with VicRoads, Parks Victoria and the Barengi Gadjin Land Council to install signage and improvements at Pink Lake,” said Mr Woodward.
“Owing to the many stakeholders, it is a difficult to get things done at Pink Lake. However things are moving on that front”.
Mr Woodward also spoke about the Wimmera River Discovery Trail.
“We initially costed the project at $2 million thinking that there was a big pool to draw from. We quickly learned that there was not that amount of money to be had. So we have now broken the project up into smaller stages and are seeking $1 millon to do Stage-one from Dimboola to Jeparit,” he said.
“The project is expected to be completed within the next two years,” he said.
During the discussions the question was raised as to how business can transform from the ‘business model’ established over the drought period to now cater for tourism.
It was suggested that the Caravan Park notify the businesses when the caravan park will have an influx of campers and there will be opportunities to service these people.
A discussion took place regarding the Silo Trail that the Yarriambiack Shire has been so successful getting off the ground.
Mr Woodward said, “from the start we gave them accolades for their success at Brim. As the concept grew, discussion started on how Hindmarsh can be a part of the the success. We are now in the process of mapping out where the silo art sites could be that follow a tourist route”.
“There are many challenges in establishing a Silo Art Trail style project,” he said.
The main core of discussion was signage on the highway, around town and Pink Lake.