Border tourism industry in need of support

Damien Robinson

Damien Robinson

BORDER tourism is out of favour with government and needs to win back its support, according to the new president of the Albury-Wodonga Moteliers Association.

Damien Robinson said he would make the issue a priority as he starts his first term in the job.

He said he was keen on getting all motels on both sides of the border involved in the group.

Other Border businesses were welcome as “tourism benefits everybody”.

Mr Robinson took the position at the association’s annual general meeting last week.

He had been vice-president under the presidency of Barry Chappel, who has since left the industry.

Mr Robinson has owned the Stagecoach Motel in Wodonga for 10 years.

“We’d like to get more of the moteliers together as a collective,” he said.

“We also allow other businesses to be members of the association as well.

“When somebody comes to town to stay in a motel they also go to a service station, a shopping centre or a toy shop — tourism benefits nearly all businesses. The money goes around.”

Mr Robinson said Albury-Wodonga was a tourism hub as there was “a lot to see” close by and in the wider region.

“We need to lift the profile of the two cities,” he said.

“We’ll be looking at lobbying councils, governments and ministers to provide funding for things that attract people.”

Mr Robinson said what needed to be done would be discussed in greater detail.

“We have lots to offer and I just think we need to tell more people in Australia that,” he said.

He said he could understand Albury Council’s moves to sell the paddlesteamer Cumberoona.

The council recently launched a public offer process to sell the boat.

“The problem with the Cumberoona is the river levels here,” Mr Robinson said.

Mr Robinson said there was no doubt that many years of drought had played a large role in the Cumberoona’s demise.

“The Murray is narrow through Albury, it’s shallow and because Adelaide’s got enough water they’re not pumping it out — you could just about walk across the river,” he said.

“There’s no way you could run a paddlesteamer.”

Mr Robinson said it was unfortunate, but the community just had to let the Cumberoona go.

“It’s difficult for councils because money is tighter these days, there’s not as much funding from governments for projects,” he said.