Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer said the Sunshine Coast Destination Limited (SCDL) will run the centres to provide an even better service for tourists.
“This is about tourism professionals providing tourism services on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Dwyer said.
“This gives the tourism industry control of its own future, reflecting the maturity of the sector.”
An independent report into council’s Visitor Information Centres recommended the centres be managed by the tourism industry to allow;
- a greater focus on tourists
- a greater focus on the needs of the tourism industry;
- a more effective and efficient model
- improved synergies with tourism marketing
- a better experience for tourists.
The CEO of Sunshine Coast Destination Limited Steve Cooper said the change is good news for the tourism industry.
“This is a big step in the right direction for tourism on the Sunshine Coast – and I’m excited by the possibilities it provides us,” Mr Cooper said.
“This will provide many exciting new career paths for the staff, and an enjoyable experience for all the volunteers.”
Tourism Operator and General Manager of Rumba Resort in Caloundra, Bill Darby welcomed the new direction for the region’s Visitor Information Centres.
“Collaboration between Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Destination is encouraging for the tourism industry,” Mr Darby said.
“The new unity creates closer ties between tour operators and Visitors Information Centres and the important role they play in marketing the region to our visitors.
“This reform is well overdue and tourism operators welcome this exciting change. It displays good common sense – we will now be working as part of one team.”
Cr Dwyer said the transition from council to SCDL management over the next six months or so will occur with minimal impact on staff.
“Some staff will continue to work in the centres, some will be helped to find positions in council,” Cr Dwyer said.
“A Memorandum of Understanding between SCC, SCDL and the Sunshine Coast Advisory Panels will ensure the pay and benefits of staff who transition across to SCDL will stay the same for a pre-determined period.”
Volunteers spokesperson Allan Blackburn has welcomed the change.
“It’s really exciting, it recognises the important role volunteers have to play and I can’t wait for the transition to take place,” he said.
The change in management means the Sunshine Coast will still have 17 Visitor Information Centres, nine run by SCDL, six by volunteers and two by Tourism Noosa.