Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Change to tourism service delivery in Taree

Published on 25 March 2022


Taree.jpg

The changing ways tourists seek out information and a continued reduction in visitor numbers will see the Taree visitor information center close from the end of June.

The decision to transition from providing these services at the current location in Taree was made at this week’s MidCoast Council meeting, following a review of visitor services.

The review highlighted the decline in visits to traditional visitor information centres.

“Less than five per cent of visitors to our region are visiting information centres. This has been a continuing trend since prior to 2016, and the Taree visitor center has seen the greatest decline,” Council’s Director of Liveable Communities, Paul De Szell said.

There have been three Barrington Coast visitor information centers staffed by Council in Taree, Forster and Gloucester.

Forster is the most visited center with more than 13,000 visits over the last year, Gloucester at 8,000 and Taree at 3,000.

“We know that 95 per cent of people who come to visit the Barrington Coast are getting their information from other sources. This is on par with the industry experience – most people are getting their information about us online both before they visit and during their visit.”

This was very much the experience before 2020-21 COVID pandemic and online use has continued to increase during this time.

“COVID has increased visitor expectations in online and digital platforms for a range of functions from sourcing visitor information to online bookings that were already on a sharp increase before the pandemic.”

Mr De Szell said the Manning Valley was an integral part of the Barrington Coast destination brand and the closure of the center would not impact on that.

While there will not be a formal visitor centre, the Barrington Coast team is developing programs which will help to deliver visitor information services to customers.

“These programs will incorporate a wide range of services including leaflet racks, promotional posters, packs for holiday rentals, support and training,” Mr De Szell said.

“They will also allow us to connect with visitors in the places they visit rather than expect visitors to go out of their way to an information center that is not centrally located.”

Mr De Szell said the Barrington Coast team was also planning to continue the use of mobile and pop-up visitor information services that have proven successful during peak periods and events.

‘”We are very conscious of the community’s desire for us to deliver services in a way that maximizes the return for our community and the evidence tells us we can deliver services to our visitors in a more cost effective way that gets the information to where the visitors are looking for it.”

Other uses of the building that house the visitor information center at Taree such as the theater which is used for meetings, film screenings, etc will be maintained in the short term until The Beryl Jane Flett Studio extension to the MEC is completed and more work is done to determine the best future use of the space.

Nation World News Desk
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