Shire's Visitor Information Centres to close

The Eurobodalla Shire Council will no longer fund the shire's Visitor Information Centres, saying it has a new approach to tourism services.

The council said the centres were outdated and services needed to change.

The council's manager of strategic growth Elizabeth Rankin said it was time to take information to visitors instead of making visitors travel to information centres. The council's aim was to encourage personal recommendations that were supported by the council's tourism websites.

"Plenty of businesses and individuals are already fully engaged with visitors and using excellent new online resources to support that," she said.

"For example, we've integrated a mapping program into eurobodalla.com.au so people can curate their own itineraries online. And we've recently launched whatson.eurobodalla.com.au to highlight the many events and activities Eurobodalla has to offer.

"We'll provide additional training on getting the best use of those resources to any businesses who want it. That gives them the option them to hang that distinctive "I" information symbol out front."

The Eurobodalla Shire Council says contemporary approaches to visitor information will allow individuals and businesses to share their favourite local spots and activities. Image: Supplied.

The Eurobodalla Shire Council says contemporary approaches to visitor information will allow individuals and businesses to share their favourite local spots and activities. Image: Supplied.

As a result of the review in December, councillors resolved to close the centre in Batemans Bay on February 28 this year.

The council said one full-time position has been redeployed within the tourism team and the other made redundant.

The Narooma VIC's lease was due to expire in May, and the council said future lessees would not be required to provide visitor services.

Ms Rankin said changes to the distribution of visitor information was "a really positive outcome".

"These days people rely heavily on local intel - that's how they decide where to stay and what to do," Ms Rankin said.

"That authentic, personalised information is king, and contemporary approaches to visitor services engage and enable residents and businesses to share information. Everyone in Eurobodalla can play a role in getting the right information to the right people at the right time."

Ms Rankin said the council had also updated print collateral, with six activity-based and five town-based brochures, "for the cohort of people who still like information they can grab hold of".

Another initiative - ePostcards - lets residents and visitors send virtual postcards to invite visitors to share their favourite shire locations and attractions.

What will happen to the existing information centres at Batemans Bay and Narooma?

Ms Rankin said a comprehensive assessment of both centre's demonstrated the existing model was broken.

"The VICs were set up decades ago, when people made travel decisions quite differently," Ms Rankin said.

"Surveys found that less than 10 per cent of visitors to Eurobodalla use the VICs, and they found it hard to find information, yet most of our tourism budget is going to VICs and printed material."

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This story Shire's Visitor Information Centres to close first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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