Encouraging travellers to stay

Council assistance in promoting the local region as a stopover for travellers has been enthusiastically welcomed by South Australia's towns of Quorn and Hawker. Situated at the southern gateway to the picturesque Flinders Ranges, local businesses were concerned about economic opportunities being missed with too many people simply passed through the towns without realising how much there was to see and do in the area.

Quorn Progress Association, a volunteer group, was successful in attracting funding under the Regional Towns Program. It determined that a starting point would be the appointment of a full time Community Economic Development Officer.

While funds fell short of the necessary amount, Flinders Ranges Council came to the rescue supplementing a full time salary and providing inkind support for the position. This position is now held by Marcus Brady.

He carried out an audit of initiatives taken to date, ascertaining what factors local people thought were important to promote. With $7,000 from the Community at Work Program, he developed a marketing campaign aimed at achieving an increased profile for the district.

This included a 16 page visitor information guide. The area has much to offer visitors if they take the time to explore the district. Apart from the famous Pitchi Ritchi Railway, there are opportunities for bushwalking, backpacking, four wheel driving, heritage walks, horse riding and camel tours.

Quorn has been used as the location for many Australian films because it retains the wide streets, heritage buildings and ambience of the 'stereotypical' Australian town. The employment of a full time paid staff member to operate the tourist information office rather than relying solely on volunteers has also been beneficial.

"Local people are very happy about the initiatives and foresee good prospects as a result of the program," Tony Dahlitz said. "Council support has been crucial. It would not have happened without Local Government."

For further information contact Daryl Cearns, Chief Executive Officer, Flinders Ranges Council, telephone (08) 8648 6031.