Councillor Andrew Baker at the Grafton Council Chambers.
Councillor Andrew Baker at the Grafton Council Chambers. Caitlan Charles

Tourism Plans: Council to hear two conflicting views

THE local tourism industry is going gangbusters and does not need help to attract more visitors says a Clarence Valley councillor.

Cr Andrew Baker has put up a notice of motion for tomorrow's Clarence Valley Council meeting in Maclean, calling on the council to cut its tourism promotion and advertising and hand those functions to a private body. Cr Baker's NOM also calls for the council to redirect that funding to improve tourist facilities and projects.

"It's not a cost-saving move," he said.

"It's more a way of directing the spending to where it's needed.

"Local tourist businesses are so oversubscribed they don't need advertising to attract more people."

Cr Baker said facilities such as beachside toilets and outdoor tables beside the river were often in a poor state and the money for tourism promotion could be better spent refurbishing them.

"The money would be better improving the facilities for the visitors - and for us," he said.

Cr Baker said the local tourism industry had given the council all the guidance it needed with its response to a call to form a committee of 10 to manage tourism promotion.

"The council sent out 400 letters and contacted business in all sorts of ways and we only got two nominations to be on the committee," he said

"That's telling me the industry is not interested in what the council was offering."

Ironically Cr Baker's NOM comes after the council had organised for the general manager of Destination North Coast, Phil Harman, to address them earlier in the meeting. Mr Harman said he would talk to councillors about the destination management plan for the North Coast.He said the body was formed after the State Government changed direction with tourism promotion for NSW.

"They've broken the state up into six destination areas of which North Coast was one," he said.

"We've developed a draft destination management plan for the North Coast, which has a key focus on nature for the Clarence Valley."

"The Clarence has fantastic natural attractions like its rivers and National Parks, which are somewhat under utilised."



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