Recent changes to the way tourism is promoted and managed in the Kiama area have resulted in a new name: Destination Kiama.
“This more clearly aligns us with the efforts of Destination NSW and will help provide a seamless transition in our marketing,” says the Chair of Kiama Council’s Tourism Advisory Committee, Councillor Matt Brown.
While responsibility for tourism promotion now lies with Council, rather than the industry run Kiama Tourism, Cllr Brown says the success of the new structure will rely heavily on industry participants being involved as members.
“Tourism is the main driver of the local economy. We all need to be part of a team working together,” he says.
He is hopeful membership will rise to double that of the old Kiama Tourism.
“I encourage all businesses and organisations to become members, because all will benefit from a strong tourism industry. Be part of the change that is happening.”
Given the time that it has taken to implement the changeover, including appointing Karen Ronning as the Tourism & Events Manager, Destination Kiama is offering its first year memberships at pro rated rates.
Membership ranges from $90 to $360, with a variety of benefits attached to each level of membership.
As yet, a decision has not been made on the best organisational structure for staffing Destination Kiama on an on-going basis. Former Kiama Tourism staff are continuing in their roles at the Visitors Centre.
“We have been focused on developing a strategy for going forward, which will be unveiled to members at our next Tourism After Hours event in early October,” says Cllr Brown.
Members will have three weeks to digest the document’s contents before being given the opportunity to give feedback at discussion sessions to be held on 26 October.
“We want to incorporate their feedback before the strategy is presented to Council’s November meeting for endorsement.
“It is important for members to be fully engaged with what we are trying to achieve, and how we are going to go about it.”
Cllr Brown says that now all of Council’s events budget has been rolled into the tourism budget, Destination Kiama now has a combined overall budget of $900,000.
“By putting all of the resources together, we now have a good budget to move forward,” he says.
An endorsed Tourism strategy will enable Council’s forward budget to take new initiatives into account.
Having always advocated the importance of events in bringing visitors to our area, Cllr Brown says he is keen to help existing ones, like the Kiama Jazz & Blues Festival and the Kiama Sevens, move to the next level.