Most of the region’s Visitor Information Centres may lose their accreditation soon due to a shortage of volunteers, but a Council plan to keep Kingaroy accredited could prevent any negative effects

June 17, 2022

Most of the South Burnett’s Visitor Information Centres (VICs) seem likely to lose their accreditation with Tourism Queensland soon because of a shortage of volunteers.

At Wednesday’s Finance standing committee meeting, Councillors heard that under current rules, accredited VICs must keep their doors open every day and provide services to tourists for at least 42 hours each week to retain accreditation.

However, most of the region’s VICs are unable to meet this benchmark at the moment because of volunteer shortages.

As a result, officers recommended that all the region’s VICs – except for Kingaroy – be allowed to lose their accreditation when it comes due for renewal.

They said the reason for recommending this was that retaining accreditation for one VIC would ensure the entire region could continue to receive the benefits that accreditation brought.

This included access to the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse to list and update the region’s tourism businesses and events; the ability to put promotional material in other accredited VICs; and access to marketing and promotional opportunities not available to non-accredited VICs.

Officers said the Kingaroy VIC was regarded as the most viable option to retain accreditation due to its central location, visitor numbers, and co-location with the museum and art gallery.

The benefit of this strategy was that all the region’s other VICs would be able to stay open as normal but could reduce the number of hours, days and volunteers required, giving them greater flexibility.

In response to questions from several councillors, CEO Mark Pitt said it was not guaranteed that Kingaroy would pass its accreditation audit but of all the VICs it stood the best chance.

He added that if all the region’s VICs lost their accreditation, it would not be a disaster because they could always reapply at a future date.

But the recommended strategy – if Kingaroy passed its audit – was the best path forward in the current circumstances.

Mr Pitt also noted that all VICs around Australia and overseas were facing unique challenges caused by the digital age.

The Council was working on a visitor service strategy that he hoped would address these matters but a workshop about this will not be held until July or August.

A motion to accept the officer’s report for information was moved by Cr Kirstie Schumacher, seconded by Cr Scott Henschen and carried unanimously.

UPDATE June 21:  From July 1, the Kingaroy Visitor Information Centre will resume its pre-Covid service levels and open seven days a week. The Wondai Timber Museum will also trial opening on a Sunday.

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