Eurobodalla to close visitor information centres in favour of online resources

Sharon Kelley 18 January 2021 13
Exterior of Batemans Bay Visitor Information Centre.

Eurobodalla Shire Council will close the Batemans Bay Visitor Information Centre on 28 February, 2021. Photo: Supplied.

Eurobodalla Shire Council will close the visitor information centres in Batemans Bay and Narooma after a review on their services concluded less than 10 per cent of visitors use them.

Services will now be provided online via the Eurobodalla Coast Tourism website.

Council’s strategic growth manager, Elizabeth Rankin, welcomed the changes to online visitor information as “a really positive outcome”.

“These days people rely heavily on local intel – that’s how they decide where to stay and what to do,” she 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.”

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Ms Rankin said even with knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, a comprehensive assessment of Eurobodalla’s two accredited visitor information centres demonstrated the existing model is broken.

In December 2020, councillors resolved to close the Batemans Bay Visitor Information Centre on 28 February, 2021. One full-time position has been redeployed within the tourism team and the other made redundant. Once the lease for Narooma Visitor Information Centre expires in May 2021, future lessees will not be required to provide visitor services.

“The centres were set up decades ago, when people made travel decisions quite differently,” said Ms Rankin.

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

Ms Rankin said it is time to take information to visitors instead of making visitors travel to information centres, with personal recommendations supported by online information at the forefront.

“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 so people can curate their own itineraries online. And we’ve recently launched What’s On Eurobodalla 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 to hang that distinctive ‘i’ information symbol out front.”

Ms Rankin said council has 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.

Original Article published by Sharon Kelley on About Regional.

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13 Responses to Eurobodalla to close visitor information centres in favour of online resources
Tramcar Trev Tramcar Trev 9:46 am 24 Jan 21

Simple do what other regions do, use local volunteers to staff the visitor centre.

Sue Sedgwick Sue Sedgwick 9:11 am 24 Jan 21

And what about those passing through town and would like a chat with a local or some quick advice on our treasures. I wouldn't bother stopping in a town if I had to consult a website.

Suzanne Garnett Suzanne Garnett 3:42 am 24 Jan 21

Not much use to us elderly visitors who don’t have access to online resources

Josh Watson Josh Watson 8:51 pm 23 Jan 21

Stupid move, should work on your business model abit more

Dan Ruspandini Dan Ruspandini 7:47 pm 23 Jan 21

What about stubby holders ?

Gerry Gageldonk Gerry Gageldonk 7:26 pm 23 Jan 21

A bad move !

Constance Mussillon Wiggins Constance Mussillon Wiggins 6:10 pm 23 Jan 21

How often will they update there pages

Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 6:07 pm 23 Jan 21

Great, that saves me the trip out there!

Kimmy Hunter Kimmy Hunter 5:52 pm 23 Jan 21

This is disappointing That website is really difficult to navigate

Justin Watson Justin Watson 5:46 pm 23 Jan 21

Yeah great...... On my recent travels the first thing I did was visit the local tourism info centre. Some were great like Orange. Others decided they'd barely open like Broken Hill and redirect you to a website, which I'd already read and still had questions.....

JeeKay Dee JeeKay Dee 5:17 pm 23 Jan 21

But does anyone use the information centre?

    Jacinta Ferguson Jacinta Ferguson 7:45 pm 23 Jan 21

    I do when I visit a new town. Hopefully they are able to advise me on Accessible Accommodation. Websites are not always as helpful as someone with local knowledge who is willing to help

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 5:02 pm 23 Jan 21

Yes because nothing beats the face to face interaction of a computer, and how it can give you advice about some actual hidden gems. Well done Eurobodalla Shire.

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