Geoff Helisma Clarence Valley Council (CVC) launched its new tourism branding in Market Square last Thursday. The branding is the result of consensual discussions among the council’s tourism advisory committee, which agreed in September last year “to develop a brand to affirm our own identity within the identified hierarchy, acknowledging that the existing branding may provide an excellent starting point (i.e. there is not too much wrong with the existing brand)”. Mayor Williamson was dressed for the occasion, sporting shorts, t-shirt and cap (ablaze with the new logo) and thongs to reflect the logo’s purpose, as were other council staff who enjoyed a picnic at the balloon-filled Market Square. “The message is clear,” the mayor said in a CVC media release. “You can bring your family here and have the kind of holiday we had as kids.” Councillor Williamson said the Clarence Valley was populated by real, genuine, everyday people. “It’s not glitz and glamour; the only shine you’ll get here is the sparkle off the Clarence River or the Pacific Ocean,” he said. He said the new branding represented a single, strong brand to communicate a clear, focused message to visitors. “Here, you can own every moment … you can lie around reading a book, hike through national parks, camp out under the stars or build sand castles with the kids; you choose – you own every moment,” he said. “One of the benefits of the new brand is all our community can embrace it, feel some connection and unite under it. “The brand is uplifting and has a fresh feeling about it that will help us all focus on the positive.” The most recent tourism study, completed by Lawrence Consulting for CVC in September last year, estimated that the industry’s total economic impact in the valley amounted to $457.3million, made up of “an estimated direct output of $296.4 million and additional flow on increases in output of $160.9million”. Direct income (wages and salaries) amounted to $72.4million, with $28.7 million in additional income generated through flow-on effects in other industries and $36.5 million from household spending. The report states that the industry accounts for approximately 2,475.7 direct full-time equivalent (FTE) employment positions, with an estimated additional 1,870 positions supported indirectly through other industries and household consumption, for a total employment impact of 4,345.6 FTEs. The direct value-added impact of the tourism sector ($152.9million) represents approximately 6.4 per cent of the total gross regional product for the Clarence Valley LGA, which is higher than the Northern Rivers average of 5.1 per cent. Tourism accounted for approximately 1,872,000 visitor nights to the region, 97.5 per cent of which were domestic visitors. The tourism committee agreed in June this year to support the logo concept, following a presentation by the branding developer, Destination Marketing Store. The Clarence Valley Tourism Advisory Committee is comprised of three councillors, Margaret McKenna (chair), Mayor Richie Williamson and Sue Hughes, and six tourism industry representatives, Kelle’ Murphy, Mark Mitchell, Rick Murray, Stephen Ibbott, Roxanne Williams and Jeremy Billett. The committee’s role is to “provide advice to Council on the development of policy and strategy relating to tourism throughout the Clarence Valley”, its impact on the wider community and “to act as the primary conduit for representation of the tourism industry to Council”.