THE Riverina needs to harness its food bowl status to capture an untapped tourist market, tourism leaders believe.
Locals have weighed in on ways to counter the market shortfall, by showcasing the region’s vast quality product.
Wagga man John D’Anvers is calling for a purpose-built theatrette to explain the food-growing processes of the region to visiting tourists.
He is proposing the centre showcases the region’s industries and how our crops are sown, grown, harvested and marketed – all through film.
It is a vision that came to him on a visit to Ballarat, where he watched a gold mining film at a theatrette attached to the tourist information centre.
Mr D’Anvers wants to see a similar attraction developed in Wagga, attached to the Civic Theatre, Botanic Gardens or Riverina Playhouse, which will give an immediate boost to the local economy.
“There’s missed opportunity,” Mr D’Anvers said.
“We’re known as the food bowl, but there’s no real way, at the moment, of explaining that.”
He wants to see a “brainstorming session” held between Wagga City Council, CSU, Committee 4 Wagga (C4W) and tourism leaders to help expand the tourist possibilities in the Riverina.
It is a sentiment shared by C4W chair Judy Galloway, who says the region desperately needs to invest into developing ourselves as an attractive tourist destination.
One way is transforming Wagga’s Livestock Marketing Centre (LMC) into a tourist facility, she suggests.
“Why aren’t we doing out tours out there? Why aren’t we promoting it to national and international (tourism markets)?” she asked.
Mrs Galloway said the region’s rich agricultural and horticultural markets could be the “point of difference” to other destinations.
“Food bowl tourism is a fantastic idea,” she said. “There’s fantastic people doing fantastic things in our area.”
Wagga mayor Rod Kendall applauded the likes of Mr D’Anvers making suggestions to help improve tourism in the region.
“I encourage people with worthwhile suggestions to let us know so we can throw them into the mix,” Cr Kendall said.
The calls follow Graham Gorrell’s column in the Advertiser on August 7, in which he detailed the scope of food bowl tourism opportunities in the Riverina.
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