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Tourism initiative seeks participants

As part of its role as the primary provider of tourism services in the valley, Clarence Valley Council (CVC) has commenced an initiative of its Economic Development Unit (EDU), My Clarence Valley Business (MCVB), which invites businesses to take out a membership. “Basically, if you’re based in the Clarence Valley, and tourism impacts on your balance sheet, MCVB has got your back,” the marketing material states. “MCVB is the central destination marketing and local tourism organisation” in the region, and is “charged with growing and developing a viable, sustainable tourism economy for the Clarence”. Basic memberships cost $330 a year for 1-10 staff and $530 a year for more than 10 staff members. Membership upgrades are offered in a similar manner to those sought for sponsorships of special events, and are graded as gold membership ($5,000 pa), Purple ($3,500 pa) and Green ($2,100 pa); individuals can sign up for $55 pa, not for profits $165 pa and charities are free. What each of these levels of involvement purchase is defined in the pictured table graphic. According to the marketing material: “As of 2017, our local tourism economy generates over $312.7million in direct expenditure annually; and directly employs more than 2,000 people. “Tourism is an increasingly competitive, challenging and ever-changing industry, MCVB’s mission is to protect, inform and enhance the operations and potential of Clarence Valley operators. “Tourism is everyone’s business.” Clarity a Clarence Valley Journal is CVC’s new biannually-produced, glossy-covered, magazine that has/is being distributed “predominantly around the Clarence Valley”. The council’s environment, planning & community director Des Schroder said in an emailed response to the Independent’s questions that Clarity is a “tourism journal/relocation/lifestyle magazine”. He described it as a combination of publications previously distributed by the former Clarence River Tourism Association (CRTA) and the council’s Clarence Living magazine, which is replaced by Clarity. “The CRTA always produced a tourism brochure with sponsored content [paid advertising]; there has just been a hiatus,” he said, “and council always produced relocation collateral (Clarence Living). “It is just another way of presenting printed information for visitors, and we are very proud of it. “The feedback we have had from those who have received it has also been positive. “We’ve researched our audience profiles and that research shows locals tend to get their information from traditional media (print). “Like the 52 Discoveries magazine, this product targets locals and their visiting friends and relatives (the most common accommodation type). “All our campaigns are targeted, utilising the most effective method for a particular audience; for example: social media, web promotion, billboards, print collateral and convenience advertising [in strategically selected toilets].” The Independent also asked questions about how the businesses featured in the current edition were chosen (and who paid or not for the advertorials), how much revenue the EDU expects to generate through the MCVB initiative, how many copies were printed and at what cost. However, Mr Schroder declined to answer those questions; instead, he said: “There are commercial in confidence matters relating to the cost of printing, the take-up of subscriptions and other matters about which council will not comment, but there is no secret in the fact that council is seeking to have those who benefit from tourism help pay for the delivery of promotional services.”