KI Visitor Centre future will be discussed by the council

CLOSED FOR NOW: The Kangaroo Island Visitor Information Centre remains closed until a new funding model can be reached. File photo
CLOSED FOR NOW: The Kangaroo Island Visitor Information Centre remains closed until a new funding model can be reached. File photo

The future of the Kangaroo Island Visitor Information Centre will again be discussed by the KI Council at its informal gathering this Thursday, July 25.

All options would be considered, including those presented in an options paper produced by the KI Commissioner, with pressure to have the centre reopened by the end of winter.

Options range from putting the building and centre operations out to tender for a private business venture and/or having pop-up visitor services.

The council owns the KI Visitor Information Centre (VIC) building at Penneshaw and as such pays for maintenance and cleaning.

Mayor Michael Pengilly said the council had not paid anything to the operation of the centre since 2010.

Although the council did provide annual funding to Tourism KI and also $17,000 to TKI's Tourism Optimisation Management Model (TOMM).

Tourism KI and the previous council had failed to change the business model and allowed a reserve of funding for operations to "run dry", he said.

"Further to that the lease with council was allowed to run out in 2017, for unknown reasons," Mr Pengilly said.

With SA Tourism Commission also unwilling to provide dollars to the centre, the mayor said his own personal view was that the centre and its operation should be put out for private tender.

TKI chairman Pierre Gregor said more details needed to be provided on the private business model option.

"Council have been approached to provide some clarity on what is intended here," Mr Gregor said. "There has also been some 'pressure' applied to have council actually consider the options paper rather than ignore it, which seems to be the case.

"The Options Paper provides a range of possibilities, indeed a solution may well be a mixture of what is presented.

"From my perspective what is clear is that visitor information servicing requires a collaborative effort and this includes council.

"The provision of effective, timely and accurate visitor information is an essential component in all stages of visitor travel cycle, awareness, consideration, planning, purchasing and updating and confirming etc, and does go beyond the operations of a VIC.

"It is an important and complicated mechanism that involves the digital arena, industry, websites etc as well as a VIC.

"Even without a VIC the fact is that the provision of effective visitor info services requires resourcing and focus that goes beyond any one entity.

"As I said, it requires a collaborative partnership and is particularly important for Kangaroo Island.

"Tourism is a highly competitive arena and if we, the Island, do not stay ahead of the game, we stand to lose visitation."

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