THE Narooma Chamber of Commerce has initiated discussions with the Eurobodalla Shire Council about the hours of the Narooma Visitor Centre.
Tourism operators are unhappy that the centre since May has been open from 9am to 3pm with reports of visitors arriving later than that lost and without accommodation.
Chamber president Matt Deveson together with other chamber members and tourism operators last month met with the council’s tourism and economic development officer Andrew Greenway to discuss tourism matters.
Mr Deveson said tourism operators told Mr Greenway it was crucial for the centre to open as long as possible, so that visitors could find accommodation and book tours for the next day.
Other Narooma tourism and accommodation operators following the closure of the La Salle Motel were critical of council tourism operations, saying there should be board meetings and action.
Council officials say recommendations of an independent study are being implemented, and how the new council deals with tourism obviously remains to be seen.
In other Narooma chamber news, the now twice-yearly Monties business awards that were meant to take place this year have been put off until next year.
The thinking being that Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma could coordinate a shire-wide business awards in the same year.
Mr Deveson said there had been discussion of having a more informal chamber celebration this year and feedback was still being sought.
Spot a whale, help boost tourism
FROM now until November is the perfect time for locals and visitors to view a whale in its natural environment and Eurobodalla is the perfect place to take advantage of some great whale watching hotspots and tours.
Eurobodalla Shire general manager Paul Anderson said council had developed a cutting edge campaign to entice visitors from the Canberra region and further afield to Eurobodalla to watch the whales as they make their return journey along the Pacific Ocean “highway” with their babies in tow.
The campaign includes the use of Facebook, Twitter, Google advertising, a blog as well as traditional PR and print advertising in Canberra and a Whale sighting hotline.
“As part of our 2012 campaign we are encouraging locals to get involved by reporting whale sightings in the waters between Durras and Mystery Bay and around historic Montague Island,” he said.
“Everyone can help us attract visitors by posting sightings and photos on Eurobodalla’s tourism Facebook page or on Twitter or by calling council’s whale hotline.”
Whale numbers, particularly humpbacks, have continued to rise each year which means that there’s more chance than ever to spot them this spring.
”This is an important time for the local tourism industry so I encourage everyone to take out their binoculars and camera to view and capture images of these beautiful creatures. In this way, prospective tourists and all our friends and relatives can see the whale watching experiences that Eurobodalla provides.”
To report a sighting and post a photo, go to the Eurobodalla tourism Facebook page www.facebook.com/eurobodalla, to Twitter use the handle @whale_watch or call the whale hotline on 1800 802 528.