September 25th 2008
Call for new MI Tourism body
Following a brain storming meeting on Monday afternoon, when Townsville City Council's Economic Management Unit visited Magnetic Island, a meeting to organise a new Magnetic Island Local Tourism Organisation was called for and is now planned for Pepper's Conference Room at 5.45pm on Monday September 29.
The meeting with the TCC team, who were accompanied by the Island's nominated Councillor Terry McCahill and Sustainability Manager, Greg Bruce, was, remarkable for revealling just how much the challenge to change direction in the face of global warming has filtered into the language of our local government.
Mr Andrew McEwen, TCC Economic Development Manager said that competition, globally, for cities like Townsville would be based on regional energy autonomy and low greenhouse gas emissions. He talked of future prospects of powering industry with hot rock technology, lowering energy costs by putting jobs closer to worker's neighbourhoods and, of course, the much mentioned Solar City initiative.
In Magnetic Island's case, and the tourism industry in particular, locals were urged to work and together and collaborate on a greater scale as had been successfully tried with Geelong's G21 program (click here)
The meeting, which included about 40 local business people, soon moved towards a Zing brain-storming workshop. At each table were up to six participants who would raise ideas in response to basic questions such as: "What do you consider to be the challenges facing sustainable tourism development on Magnetic Island?" and "How do you think TCC could help facilitate sustainable tourism development on Magnetic Island?"
The Zing technology allowed each table to key in their ideas which were projected immediately onto a large screen with all the others. Within seconds there were tens of responses posted and the TCC team promised to collate them and have them represented to the community as soon as possible.
It seemed however that an overwhelming number of respondents were expressing a powerful endorsement of sustainable options - away from the big development approaches the Island has witnessed in recent years.
Following this, Mr Colin Foley from Nelly Bay, called for the formation of a new tourist body on Magnetic Island.
In a letter to those who attended the meeting Mr Foley has followed up by writing, "I ask all Islanders who are interested in tourism to consider becoming members and supporters of our local "T.M.I."
After a summation of the TCC Economic Unit meeting Mr Foley wrote, "I was able to ask the assembly if we should have a Local Tourist Organisation (LTO). The response was an overwhelming "Yes". I then asked everyone if they thought it better to re-invigorate Tourism Magnetic Island, an existing body incorporated by Magnetic Island Development Association, rather than start a new group, with a new name, etc. A large majority agreed.
"Currently, no membership fees are seen as the preferable model. It is felt that it is better for TMI to identify projects and then work out how to execute them, on a case by case basis.
"At this stage there are no office bearers, other than a self-appointed 'Steering Committee' who have been keeping the ball rolling since a presentation by a TEL facilitator some months ago, pointed out the value of having a well organised LTO.
"In the meantime, we were able to produce and disseminate, free, a promotional email newsletter, to maximise visitors during Race Week, Jazz Party and Bay Days Festival. (We trust members benefited from this)