August 30, 2018
The South Burnett Regional Council says it is committed to the future of Visitor Information Centres (VICs) in the region despite a drop in numbers over the past 10 years.
The Council currently operates – and fully funds – five accredited VICs in the region in Blackbutt, Nanango, Kingaroy, Wondai and Murgon.
These centres rely heavily on volunteers who are supported by Council staff.
On Thursday, the Council announced it will undertake a “Future of the VICs” study to develop a clear plan ahead for tourism services in the South Burnett.
“The study will focus on a range of research topics and will use case study examples from other locations or local history to inform a Discussion Paper,” the Council said.
“Open consultation with volunteers, industry and Council will be undertaken on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and gaps, to develop an information direction for the VICs.”
The Council said the Visitor Information Centres played a valuable role in local tourism.
But in recent years, VICs have been under the spotlight as the tourism sector experienced shifts in consumer behaviour.
“The wider tourism industry has witnessed the closure or redevelopment of VICs, and the implementation of alternative methods for provision of information to visitors,” the Council said.
“The South Burnett is not immune to these changes, with a decrease in visitors through the VIC network in comparison to 10 years ago.
“The use of the internet for searching, selecting and booking travel is influencing this consumer behaviour shift.
“This activity is increasing and is potentially educating tourists about accommodation options, places to visit and things to do.
“In this changing environment, the South Burnett’s network of VICs still has a vital role to play in providing local information, local products and local knowledge.”
Tourism portfolio chair Cr Danita Potter said the study would try to determine how the region’s VICs can evolve to foster regional tourism and economic growth.
South Burnett Regional Council said it would “continue to work with all stakeholders and volunteers to continue to promote the VICs”.