Fishing for fresh tourism territory in Loddon Shire

Published on 15 January 2016

Loddon Shire is fishing for fresh ideas as it embarks on the development of a new five-year tourism strategy.

Council has appointed Wendy Holland from Bendigo-based consulting firm, “Communityvibe”, to help prepare the plan.

Loddon Shire Council Tourism Manager Robyn Vella said as the project proceeded, Council intended to keep one eye firmly focused on the recently completed Bendigo Region Destination Plan.

“The Bendigo Region Destination Plan encourages regional collaboration with neighbouring tourism areas such as Bendigo, Maryborough and Castlemaine, to maximise opportunities,” Ms Vella said.

However, in doing so, Ms Vella said Council would be working closely with local tourism operators to ensure they voiced valuable suggestions and solutions to issues directly affecting businesses within Loddon Shire.

“Council is keen to identify how it can help develop local tourism operations and businesses which supply goods and services to the industry.”

“A survey designed to gain feedback on tourism products, marketing tools and plans for growth, will be distributed to relevant businesses by the end of the month.”

Ms Vella said Council was looking forward to receiving a strong response to the survey so they could take on board a broad range of concepts and points of view when developing the five-year plan.

“We’re also looking forward to hearing what tourism operators within the Shire have to say at an information session to be held at the Loddon Valley Business Network dinner on Tuesday 16 February.”

“The dinner, to be held at the Loddon Visitor Information Centre, 24 Wilson Street Wedderburn from 6pm, will provide a wonderful opportunity to workshop ideas on how we can further develop and enhance Loddon Shire as a key visitor destination.”

“We need to hear what type of support is required of those working within the tourism sector so we can explore ways to position them to achieve their future goals.”

Ms Vella said she would encourage all existing and potential tourism businesses to attend the Loddon Valley Business Network dinner so they could have their say about advancing tourism within their Shire.

“We’ll be looking at identifying key tourism assets across the Shire including rivers, lakes, historical streetscapes, cultural heritage, bushland, rocks, quiet roads, accommodation, food, wine and events.”

“We will then compile these suggestions as a foundation for the development of the five-year tourism strategy.”

Ms Vella said once completed, the five-year tourism strategy would be the “go to” document in steering Council towards fine-tuning its market position to capture an increasing number of visitors, with a broad range of interests, to visit and stay in Loddon Shire.

Communityvibe Director Wendy Holland said she was looking forward to working with those already in the tourism industry, those who think that they may like to set up some sort of enterprise in the future and those who currently supply goods and services to visitors.

“I’m interested to determine the level of support required to take tourism to the next level within the municipality,” Ms Holland said.

“We believe that Loddon Shire provides some unique visitor experiences and opportunities not found elsewhere, and has the potential to deliver an even greater range of tourism products.”