Pop-up tourist kiosk model put on table

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph

The City of Rockingham met with tourism operators and stakeholders last Tuesday night to unveil the thinking behind a new business model — with most of the attendees receptive to elements within the plan.

As revealed in the Telegraph last week, the City wants to transition from the current shopfront model to a digitally based solution, which would see Rockingham Visitor Centre close within the next two years as a result.

The City is proposing the employment of two specialised tourism marketing professionals, who will be handed a marketing budget, to operate in its Strategy and Corporate Communications team.

These recruits will be tasked with increasing the City’s tourism investment and getting a better return for the industry.

The general consensus among tourism providers was that the City’s efforts to focus on tourism were a positive thing and Rockingham needed to further embrace digital technology in an effort to increase the number of visitors.

However, a number of the attendees expressed their reluctance at the visitor centre closing entirely, with a feeling some level of visitor servicing was needed.

City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels and chief executive Andrew Hammond said the new business model would be drawn up in consultation with tourism stakeholders and that feedback would be taken on board.

Tourism Rockingham president Stacey Graham said she thought the meeting was productive.

“When it comes to tourism promotion and strategies, it is incumbent upon us all to ensure that visitors to our city are well looked after,” she said.

“Tourism Rockingham is looking forward to working with the City to ensure all aspects of tourism are addressed and that future strategies are developed to benefit not only the tourism and hospitality industry, but all members of our community.”

Cr Sammels said the meeting reiterated the City’s opinion a change was needed.

“The general consensus at the meeting was that although the current model has worked well over a long period of time, it has become unsustainable and requires fundamental change,” he said.

“As many other shopfront operations have discovered in recent years, disruptive digital technologies have irretrievably eroded the revenue base as consumers adapt to new methods of obtaining tourism information and purchasing tourism products.

“The meeting also confirmed there is a desire to continue some type of face-to-face visitor servicing functionality, possibly a portable solution such as a pop-up kiosk or van staffed by volunteers.

“Overall, the City of Rockingham reaffirmed its commitment to engage with industry to create a more effective and contemporary tourism business model.”

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