UNITED: Cameron Arnold, Kim Dowling and Ben Kirkwood of VIA Byron at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay.
UNITED: Cameron Arnold, Kim Dowling and Ben Kirkwood of VIA Byron at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay. Patrick Gorbunovs

Byron tourism gets in step

SOMETHING once thought impossible in the Byron Bay tourism scene may at last be about to happen.

With the formation of the new Visitor Information Association, VIA Byron, the shire's once fragmented tourism factions may begin speaking with one voice.

VIA's board includes representatives from Byron United, Holiday Letting Organisation, Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre & Chamber of Commerce, Byron Visitor Centre, Ocean Shores Business Ashored, Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce, Bangalow Chamber of Commerce and Byron Shire Council.

VIA president Cameron Arnold said impetus for the new organisation came when Destination NSW indicated it wanted to deal with just one Byron tourism entity rather than a multitude.

Treasurer Ben Kirkwood said Byron was one of the last tourism destinations in NSW to have its own local tourism organisation.

"It was kind of classic Byron where nobody could agree and it stifled the creation of this organisation for a long time," Mr Kirkwood said.

Kim Dowling from Ocean Shores Business Ashored said it was about acknowledging that Byron is the gateway for tourists to experience what else is available in the area.

"It's about aligning with Byron and not trying to compete or be seperate from Byron Bay itself so that we can be part of the tourism experience," Ms Dowling said.

"Certainly on their second and third visits tourists are looking for more than what the bay can offer."

Via Byron will present a winter marketing campaign to tourism enterprises at Byron Community Centre at 5pm on February 12.

The group will work as part of the Regional Tourism Partnership Program, where money invested by local business will be matched by the State Government dollar for dollar up to $80,000.

"This means for a minimum investment of $330 a local business could be part of a $160,000 marketing campaign," Mr Arnold said.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said it was a great step forward to have a skills based creative organisation like VIA Byron.

"Having all these stakeholders around the table is a first, it will ensure the different communities throughout the shire are considered," Cr Richardson said.

"It will be a good vehicle to attract state and federal funding ."

For information call: katie@cakemarketing.com.au



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