Plans for tourism

Macedon Ranges Shire Council will outline its key tourism issues in a submission to a State Government Regional Tourism Review.

The council want increased collaboration between Victorian regional tourism boards and local governments, protection and enhancement of the natural environment, and increased visitor dispersal to spread the benefits of tourism geographically across the region.

Economic development and tourism manager Sue La Greca said the State Government’s review into regional tourism includes alternative models to support tourism in regional Victoria.

The government distributed a survey of 21 questions and invited the local government and the community to make submissions through its engage.vic.gov.au.

Ms La Greca said the review was timely for the Macedon Ranges as earlier this year they had completed and adopted a visitor economy strategy.

She said the submission, created after consultation with counsellors and tourism operators, formed a response focused on increased collaboration, protecting and enhancing the natural environment, increased visitor yield and spreading the benefits geographically across the region.

“It also recommends expanding the Daylesford Macedon Ranges Regional Tourism Board so that regional tourism boards across the state will be of a similar size and it will improve their sustainability,” she said.

“We are recommending the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Tourism board be expanded to the north and to the west to add to and complement our existing product pillars of food and beverage, nature based tourism, health and rejuvenation and heritage and culture.”

Cr Natasha Gayfer opposed the motion because she was concerned about making natural assets exclusive.

“The first point suggests unique accommodation and exclusive natural environments and I’m not sure encouraging exclusive areas aligns with our vision and priorities – promoting inclusivity and health and wellbeing,” Cr Gayfer said.

“I don’t want to see any of our beautiful areas restricted only to people who can afford to stay in boutique accommodation.

“Of course we should manage the access to minimise [the landscape’s] impact, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of making some areas exclusive. That’s not what this council is about.”

Cr Gayfer was also opposed to unspoilt, natural landscapes being the building ground for new accommodation.

“I support more accommodation in the shire, boutique or not, but this should happen in a way that does not destroy the very landscapes that brought people here in the first place,” she said.

But other councillors felt the council had measures in place to protect natural landscapes from the over-development of tourism structures. Cr Andrew Twaits opposed Cr Gayfer, suggesting they were reading too much into the review.

“Firstly, we’ve got protections under the planning scheme. Secondly, this does nothing to
change any of the council plans or any of the strategic plans that otherwise support the direction of council,” Cr Twaits said.

“I think we run the risk of reading too much into this. I think it’s a well put together response to a generic request by the State Government to a series of questions.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Great to hear you’ve started the conversation and are exploring options for all segments. I work with the international group students market and am always looking for new products I also work with the international FIT market and would be interested in looking long term to see if there’s a regular SIC product we can produce and market overseas. I’m actually heading to the region this Sunday if you have any recommendations or itinaries I should try out. I look forward to someone contacting me. Regards Jared

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