Visitor centre could be relocated

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

A drop in bookings through the Bunbury Visitor Centre has prompted a review into whether to relocate the service.

Bunbury City Council last week accepted a confidential review into the centre’s viability at the Old Railway Station and asked chief executive officer Andrew Brien to further consult with stakeholders about a relocation.

Both Bunbury Regional Art Galleries and the Dolphin Discovery Centre have been identified as potential locations.

While a report to the council claims the 60,175 visitors to the centre during the 2015-16 financial year was a high result, it also identified the internet as affecting revenue.

“The trend to book accommodation and tours online has caused a dramatic decline in commission income and bookings through the visitor centre,” the report said.

In the report, tourism, events and wildlife park acting manager Lucy Wiseman said a number of options were considered for a relocation.

A move to either BRAG or the dolphin centre had “cost-saving potential”.

“The most compelling argument for the DDC is its location within the new tourism precinct which is expected to be a high traffic area and is an ideal location to market other tourism attractions in the region,” Ms Wiseman said.

Mayor Gary Brennan said he believed the relocation was necessary to entice more visitors, especially those with caravans, into Bunbury.

“Bunbury’s pretty easy to get in to, but it’s hard to get out of if you’re not familiar with our streets ... people may be less inclined to tow a caravan through our CBD,” Mr Brennan said.

“So the Dolphin Discovery Centre we’re looking at that, we’re looking at other locations that the city controls, it’s just looking at practicalities of people finding their way into the CBD.

“If they’re towing a caravan where can they park.”

Mr Brien will bring the matter back to the council within three months for a decision.

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