WITH almost two million visitors each year, it is no secret that the MidCoast region is a top tourist destination.
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Visitor numbers have steadily increased over the past decade, and tourists are now pouring more than $570 million annually into the region’s economy.
Council staff recently met with volunteers at Bulahdelah Visitors Information Centre (VIC) to acknowledge the huge role they play in promoting the region.
MidCoast Manager for Growth, Economic Development and Tourism Deb Tuckerman said volunteers contribute countless hours across many areas.
“Volunteers working with us in tourism bring enthusiasm, local knowledge and pride in our region, which contributes to a terrific experience for visitors,” she said.
The Bulahdelah VIC is staffed entirely by a band of volunteers who tend to more than 6,500 visitor enquiries each year from a mix of Australian and international travelers.
“Volunteers have a common interest in promoting Bulahdelah and find it is very rewarding meeting all these different people,”VIC coordinator Kevin Carter said.
“We are a bit lucky in Bulahdelah because we are small and have a bit more time to talk to the visitors and end up in quite interesting conversations.”
Kevin said most visitors to the VIC also utilise other businesses, boosting the local economy.
“Our volunteers are doing a great job of promoting Bulahdelah and are proud to tell everyone what we have, and hopefully get them to spend some dollars in town,” he said.
An average of 2.700 visitors stay in the MidCoast each night and around 9.5 percent of jobs in the region are either directly or indirectly in tourism.
“Visitors provide a huge boost for local businesses and economic growth across the region and our volunteers play an important role in this,” Deb said.
In addition to the regions six VIC’s, volunteers also contribute across other areas including MidCoast Assist which delivers Aging and Disability services and Council’s 11 libraries.
“Delivering quality services to our community across many areas of Council is only possible through the tireless efforts of our volunteers,” Deb said.
By John SAHYOUN