Tourism priority as chamber, board join forces

TOURISM is set to be high in the minds of Bunbury businesses following a Memorandum of Understanding between the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and the Bunbury Tourism Board.

Bunbury Tourism Board general manager Jan Pedersen said the memorandum sought to make the local community more aware of the benefits tourism brought to the South West – even to those not directly involved in the industry.

The Tourism Board is also planning a restructure that will see it take a higher profile in the Bunbury community, a stronger position in e-commerce and electronic visitor servicing and a move toward tourism research.

This last aim has been boosted by a $500,000 Commonwealth Government grant as well as $520,000 collected locally.

The Tourism Board will channel these funds toward a project known as the Cooperative Research Centre for sustainable tourism.

The CRC Tourism Model – A Study for the SW Tapestry Region is a three year project that will be the first of its kind in Australia.

The CRC project will involve the business and resident communities of the City of Bunbury and Shires of Harvey, Dardanup, Collie, Capel and Donnybrook-Balingup.

It is planned that the model will act as a blueprint for future projects around Australia.

Mrs Pedersen is very enthusiastic about the project.

“It will mean every one in the region will be dancing to the same tune,” she explained.

“The Tapestry region has really come out in agreement and are waiting with baited breath for this project to start,” Mrs Pedersen said.

“It means each area will be working together for the common good.”

She said one of the problems the region currently faced was a lack of clear up-to-date data on the area. Often figures are used that are several years old.

The project would address this problem, she said.

A computerised module will be developed after researching all available planning documents, extensive focus group discussions, interviews and consultation.

The simulator model will then be used to provide invaluable planning data for the region.

The CRC project will also devise and conduct visitor research and develop performance indicators to assist in monitoring the economic impact of tourism on the region.

“The project will provide a tool to take much of the guesswork out of current and intending developments. It will give our region an edge in future planning for sustainable tourism,” she explained.

The model will lead to a total tourism plan for the region with each council adopting a plan in line with the masterplan, Mrs Pedersen said.

She believes local government bodies all recognise the benefits of working together because of their commonalities while also preserving the aspects that make each area unique.

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