KI visitor services move to Penneshaw Community Business Centre

DOWNTOWN PENNESHAW: The Penneshaw Community Business Centre and post office are located in the town hall on the main street of the town.
DOWNTOWN PENNESHAW: The Penneshaw Community Business Centre and post office are located in the town hall on the main street of the town.

Talks continue about how best to provide visitor information services in the wake of the Kangaroo Island Visitor Information Centre closing.

KI Council and Tourism KI board members met on Monday morning to discuss the short-term measure of the Penneshaw Community Business Centre offering visitor services.

The council's acting CEO Greg Georgopoulos then met with the PCBC management committee and TKI board member Jayne Bates on Tuesday evening to discuss involving the centre.

"We were all in agreement that something has to be done and they (the PCBC) are happy to help," Mr Georgopoulos said.

The interim plan is to have the PCBC staff offer "essential handouts" and material such as visitor guides, information sheets on what to see and do and places at which additional information can be obtained.

Discussions continued on finding volunteers to offer the service inside the centre on weekends and holidays, while sandwich boards directing visitors to the centre would be placed at strategic locations.

Mr Georgopoulos that the PCBC solution was only temporary with the council hopeful of having a more permanent solution and the visitor information centre back open as soon as possible.

TKI chairman Pierre Gregor said the PCBC solution "supplemented the extensive action taken by TKI to provide visitor information via industry outlets and the accredited Visitor Information Centre at Victor Harbour".

Mr Gregor said the next step was the development of an options paper looking at the long-term future of the visitor centre, its importance to ongoing visitor servicing and its contribution to the local economy and employment outcomes.

"The function of the Visitor Information Centre is only one component of visitor servicing but nevertheless an important one," Mr Gregor said.

Funding for developing the options paper would be provided through the KI Commissioner, he said.

TKI has also initiated a "Cruise Ship Visitation Impact Study" and Mr Gregor was engaging a consultant to complete the required work before August, he said.

Mr Georgopoulos said the council would support, but not financially contribute, both the visitor centre options paper and the cruise ship study, providing information such as what costs were imposed on the council by increased cruise ship visitations.

Interestingly, Mr Gregor said the number of cruise ships booked for the 2019/2020 season was 25 ships, slightly down on the previous record year of 29 scheduled visits this past season.

The council had been scheduled to discuss cruise ship visitations and the need for a visitation levy at its next informal gathering on Tuesday, April 30.

The discussion was also set to address the campaign by KI resident Sara Hourez to gather input and reaction to increased cruise ship visitation numbers.

But Mr Mr Georgopoulos said due to a packed agenda for April 30, the cruise ship discussion had been pushed back to the next informal gathering in May.

The visitor information centre issue is however due for discussion at the April 30 informal gathering with representatives from the SA Tourism Commission attending the meeting to speak to the issue.

Also scheduled for discussion that day was KIPT's Smith Bay Environment Impact Statement and the SA Water pipeline to the proposed Pennington Bay golf course.