THE story on page three today is that hoary old chestnut rolled out in every tourist town from time to time.
In one corner is the commercial precinct that sees every dollar going to someone from out of town as a dollar lost.
And it is.
Then you have the accommodation lobby, happily filling its rooms with the people (in this case) who brought the food truck festival to town (although I suggest not all of them paid to stay) along with the people the festival also attracted. Anecdotal evidence suggests there were quite a few of them.
Then there is the tourism contingent, which includes representatives from both the above as well as shires on both sides of the river.
Its job is to get as many people into town as possible.
Sticking to our chestnut theme, in a nutshell the traders are right – a lot of money went west in the past week.
If the figures were correct and 18,000 individual visits were truly made; it would be a pretty safe (and I think conservative) estimation to average that out around $20 per head.
Which means the bulk of $360,000 just got sucked out of the local economy – and it ain’t coming back.
So what do our traders do to combat these commando raids on their income?
Innovate, of course.
In the grand scheme of things we are a small population hub yet we have two groups representing local business – the Murray Business Network and the Echuca Moama Business and Trades Association.
Overlaying that are the individual wants and needs of businesses, wrapped up in the bylaws and regulations of two shires, with Echuca-Moama Tourism having a finger in every strata of the pie and C4EM off on the sidelines as something of a think tank.
Imagine, therefore, getting enough enthusiasm, co-operation and momentum – on a sustained level – to achieve something special.
It can be done, of course.
An ad hoc committee just pulled off something very special for New Year’s Eve.
With a focus such as that, perhaps here is an opportunity on which to build a multi-event, multi-day program. After all, it is peak season for the twin towns.
Little events keep sticking their heads up on the parapets but in recent years few of them have evolved into anything significant.
But we do have good things and we do have unlimited potential.
So long as some people realise they may work hard for an event that might not directly and immediately benefit them and believe that in the end what’s good for the twin towns is good for them.
Then the community needs to get on board, I can assure you the Riverine Herald will, and we need to keep at it.
It is a seriously and increasingly competitive world out there.
The one thing cyber shopping cannot match is the event ambience of our towns, the setting, the history and the people.
That’s one hell of a starting block to try and win this race.