Page 1





WELCOME TO MY ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2015. THE MAJOR FOCUS OF THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS HAS BEEN ONE OF BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE. The Heart of Victoria’s great strength is its large and diverse area encompassing the spectacular to the quirky with the ability to provide unique experiences to visitors. We have determined that we needed to better showcase what our region has to offer and enable us to become more financially sustainable through the best available digital marketing platform. We were very appreciative to receive $75,000 from Regional Development Victoria to build a digital platform. This, combined with additional resources from GRVT and in kind support provided us with the opportunity to build solid foundations for future marketing. It is therefore extremely disappointing for us as a Board and for missed opportunities for our target audience that in spite of rigorous due diligence on our part and circumstances beyond our control, the company engaged to build our platform was placed into voluntary administration. Our aim to provide the best available digital platform will now be delivered by another company but it is both frustrating and disappointing that our intention to launch the digital marketing platform to capitalize on the Summer season has not been realized. We were proud to launch the inaugural Heart of Victoria dinner at Kilmore Trackside. Our focus was to highlight the wealth of military history across our region with Hon Ted Baileau, the state government’s ambassador for the Centenary of ANZAC as our guest speaker. Our following Heart of Victoria dinner featured the latest information on marketing regional Victoria. Each of our Heart of Victoria dinners will feature a different aspect of our region. Events and festivals provide increasing numbers of tourists to our region and while the digital platform will be crucial to attracting more people to experience our region, there is currently a gap in the market for local support across the region. The recent Nagambie Lakes Opera Festival, set to become an annual event illustrated that gap. Lack of funding currently precludes a marketing expert as part of our staff but it is vital for the future development of Heart of Victoria to have a marketing co-ordinator who can be responsible for overall marketing but who also establishes and works with local industry working groups specifically targeting sectors of the market.


CHAIR’S REPORT (cont) Reform of our Board structure, central to our commitment of building for the future to enable greater industry representation has begun and will be completed in the near future. I welcome our new Board members and thank all our Board members for their commitment and their enthusiastic dedication to working for our region during the past twelve months. My heartfelt thanks to our staff, a small but dedicated group who work tirelessly, often, over and above their duties. My thanks and appreciation to all the council staff and volunteers who so expertly run our visitor information centres. They provide the frontline welcome to our visitors. My thanks and appreciation to our four councils - Strathbogie, Greater Shepparton, Murrindindi and Mitchell for continuing to support us financially and for their commitment to the tourism industry as an employment generator, not only for their individual areas but for our region as a whole. Once we have the digital marketing platform securely in place as central to our foundations of building for the future, we must continue to ensure that each of our building blocks is secure. To this end, we must ensure that the information we use as our base for marketing and for attracting any future funding is based on actual and reliable data. According to Dan Zarrella - “Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed”. The most important factor is “yield”, just how much is being spent in our region by tourists and on what do they spend their money. We have already begun the process to investigate this and will be holding an industry event in the near future as part of understanding how to better use this data. Heart of Victoria is home to a natural environment of unique landscapes, rivers, forests, mountains, lakes, providing year round activities, cultural experiences, sporting events, fine wine and dining, wellness experiences, (which is by no means an exhaustive list) all providing opportunities for marketing and growth. The challenge for us is to increase awareness in Melbourne and other regions of Victoria and capture a greater share of the market. We have therefore congratulated and supported the recent decision by the State Government to abolish the Jigsaw map and current marketing of Victorian regional tourism which excluded our region the Heart of Victoria and provided no recognition of what we offer tourists or provided funding to us that other regions included in the Jigsaw map and campaign received. Our region needs greater investment and if we are to capitalize on international visitors, our region needs to increase both the quantity and quality of accommodation as well as innovative day package experiences from Melbourne. The importance for the industry to develop new product is vital to remaining competitive and attracting new visitors to our region. It is worth noting that recently the Chinese Chairman for Tourism advised the Australian Government that five years ago, 85% of Chinese tourists were traveling as part of a group on organized tours but today that group only represents 35% of Chinese tourists. There has been an incredible increase in wealthy Chinese tourists traveling independently. He also advised that by 2020, there will be 200 million Chinese traveling overseas. We remain committed to marketing the Heart of Victoria region and individual market segments using the latest digital technology to reach the widest possible audience. Hon Fran Bailey Chair



THE 2014-2015 YEAR HAS BEEN A BUSY ONE FOR GOULBURN RIVER VALLEY TOURISM AS WE CONTINUE TO BUILD FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS WONDERFUL REGION – THE HEART OF VICTORIA. From marketing to advocacy; networking to industry development we have been busy doing whatever it takes to grow the all-important visitor economy across the region. Please take a moment to consider some of the highlights of our year a little later in the Annual Report. We were delighted that Regional Development Victoria saw fit to fund our ‘Taking the Heart of Victoria into the Digital Age’ project during the year and while it has absorbed much of our time we look forward to delivering a new and powerful digital presence for the region. The re-commitment of our four member Councils to a new three year Memorandum of Understanding also gives us great confidence about the future. The Councils, individually and collectively, must be thanked for the support and recognition of the valuable role that tourism plays in the region. Since our formal establishment in March 2011, we have gained much respect from the myriad of stakeholders that we work with for the passionate and professional way that we approach the task of growing the all-important visitor economy in the Heart of Victoria. That positive feedback is a strong driver for us as we look to building the future of our region. Such respect does not happen without hard work and dedication and accordingly my thanks go to the Chair, Board and staff. Chair Hon Fran Bailey has provided the Board with a new energy and zeal for the task at hand and this has flowed through to the Directors. Individually and collectively they have been very supportive throughout the year and a pleasure to work with. Special mention must be made of the outstanding contribution of Brad Quilliam, our Murrindindi Skills Director, who is standing down at our 2015 Annual General Meeting. Brad’s passion, commitment and belief in the region since our inception have been nothing short of outstanding. Our small staff team benefited greatly from the return of Executive Officer Amanda McCulloch from maternity leave in October 2014. Amanda filled a new role in the marketing space until her departure at the end June 2015. Amanda’s contribution to Goulburn River Valley Tourism since day one has been significant and we have all benefited greatly from her passion and commitment. Sarah Casey also returned from maternity leave in February 2015 and remains with us until her departure in October 2015 when she again will be adding to her family. Throughout the year Caolan O’Connor has continued to play a pivotal role as our Tourism Officer. Caolan has proven to be an outstanding asset to the team, not only in the digital space but more generally for his work with our stakeholders across the region. The Goulburn River Valley is a wonderful region. Let us all continue to work together to build a strong and long future for the Heart of Victoria. Wendy Jones Executive Officer


FINANCIAL REPORT THE FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2015 SHOWS GOULBURN RIVER VALLEY TOURISM TO HAVE A HEALTHY SURPLUS OF $67,571 FOR THE YEAR JUST CONCLUDED AND A TOTAL EQUITY OF $157,208. HOWEVER CARE MUST BE TAKEN WHEN INTERPRETING THESE RESULTS. In the 2014-2015 year Goulburn River Valley Tourism received a grant of $67,500 from Regional Development Victoria for the ‘Taking the Heart of Victoria into the Digital Age’ project. That amount is yet to be expensed as at 30 June 2015. Taking the grant into consideration this brings the surplus to $2,071, as the balance of the surplus is committed to the digital project. The Financial Statements also include an expenditure of $13,548 on the digital project. The Board allocated $20,000 of 2013-2014 surplus ($42,298) to the digital project. At 30 June 2015, $6,452 remains to be expensed from this surplus. When taking this into consideration the 2014-2015 operational surplus is $15,619 against a budget of $9,041. In terms of the total equity of $157,208, there remains $83,256 of equity that is not committed going forward. A total of $73,952 of available funds remains committed to the digital project. The Financial Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2015 can be downloaded from www.goulburnrivervalley.com.au/stakeholderinformation/grvt-annual-report



THE YEAR HAS BEEN A BUSY ONE FOR GOULBURN RIVER VALLEY TOURISM. JUST SOME OF THE MANY ACTIVITIES WE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN ARE HIGHLIGHTED BELOW: • Launched the third edition of the highly popular ‘Holiday Planner’ in February 2015 with over 114 marketing partners buying in. • Award for the Best Stand for Regional Tourism at Victoria’s largest caravan and camping consumer show – The Melbourne Caravan Camping and Touring Supershow for the second consecutive year. • Added 2,500 new names to our consumer data base as a result of the “Ultimate Hamper’ competition at the Supershow. • Inaugural ‘Heart of Victoria’ Tourism Dinner held at Kilmore Trackside in October 2014 attended by over 80 stakeholders. Guest speaker was the Hon. Ted Baillieu in his capacity as Chair of the Victorian Government’s ANZAC Centenary Committee. • Funding secured from Regional Development Victoria to ‘Take the Heart of Victoria into the Digital Age’. New consumer digital platform under development. • Produced ‘The Digital Strategy – Taking the Heart of Victoria into the Digital Age’ as part of the digital project. • ‘Heart of Victoria’ consolidated as consumer brand with Facebook, Instagram and #visitheartofvic all launched. • Reputation Management Workshop conducted in Euroa by international marketing expert Jim Brody – Sense of Place attended by 40 stakeholders. • Garden Tourism Workshop conducted in Alexandra conducted by global expert Dr Richard Benfield with over 35 attendees.


2014–2015 HIGHLIGHTS (cont) • Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) Regional Roadshow held in Yea in April with guest speaker Dianne Smith CEO – VTIC. Over 50 industry participants attended at the Y Water Centre. • Supported the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) Stand Alone Business Case and secured the support of Cultural Tourism Victoria and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council. • Secured the inclusion of regional military product in the ‘100 Places for 100 Year’s’ brochure and app developed by the Victorian Government. • Joined the VTIC Destination Policy Committee. • Seasonal consumer newsletter sent to over 6,000 subscribers. • Secured the inclusion of the Goulburn River Valley as a stand-alone region in the 2015-2016 Experience Culture Victoria Guide produced by Cultural Tourism Victoria. • Second Heart of Victoria Tourism Dinner held at Fowles Wine in June 2015 attended by over 90 stakeholders. The guest speaker was Felicia Mariani Director of Marketing Tourism Victoria. • Annual Visitor Information Centre Summit held in Euroa and attended by over 120 volunteers and staff. • Volunteer Regional Annual ‘Famil’ held in the Mitchell Shire in October 2014 highlighting the strength of military product and local produce in the region. • Produced weekly events report for the Hume Regional Emergency Management Team during fire season and attended end of season de-brief. • Introduced new quarterly Councillor Update newsletter to keep Councillor abreast of tourism issues. • Negotiated new 2015-2018 Memorandum of Understanding with member councils - Greater Shepparton City Council, Murrindindi, Mitchell and Strathbogie Shires. • Adhered to all regulatory and governance obligations.



Hon. Fran Bailey Independent Chair

Geraldine Christou Greater Shepparton Representative

Fran Bailey is a highly experienced and qualified former federal MP with eighteen years’ experience, including senior ministerial responsibilities in Defence, Employment Services, Business and Tourism. She has extensive national and international experience chairing Ministerial conferences and meetings, forums, councils, committees and working groups.

Geraldine Christou is the Manager Manager Investment Attraction at Greater Shepparton City Council. Her portfolio includes tourism, events, business and industry attraction and development, business incubation, CBD strategy, grants, tertiary education, international relations, facility management and visitor experience.

Fran is the former member for McEwan and is a passionate advocate for tourism industry at a regional, state and national level. Fran was appointed Chair of Goulburn River Valley Tourism in February 2014.

Cheryl Hammer Greater Shepparton Skills Based Cheryl Hammer is the CEO of the Community Fund Goulburn Valley and the owner of The Churches in Orrvale. Cheryl has a background in community engagement, journalism and marketing. She is a former President of Tourism Greater Shepparton and remains a current board member. Cheryl has an Advanced Diploma in Tourism and Event Management and was appointed to the Board in December 2014.

Geraldine is a Board Member on the La Trobe Regional Advisory Board, Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Shepparton Show Me. Geraldine joined the Board in August 2014.

Ian Firth Strathbogie Skills Ian has extensive experience in the retail wine trade and is the Manager- Brand Engagement with Fowles Wine based at Avenel. Fowles Wine entered the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame in 2015 after successfully winning ‘Best Victorian Winery’ for three successive years. Ian was a member of the Goulburn River Valley Tourism Destination Management Plan Steering Committee before being invited to join the Board in May 2014. He graduated from the National Art School in Sydney in 1992 with a Diploma in Fine Art.


GOULBURN RIVER VALLEY TOURISM BOARD (cont) Emma Kubeil Strathbogie Representative

Christine Challen Murrindindi Representative

Emma Kubeil is the Executive Manager – Sustainable Development at Strathbogie Shire Council. Emma’s role includes management of the Shire’s planning, tourism, events and economic development functions. She joined the Board in May 2014.

Christine Challen is a Councillor with the Shire of Murrindindi Council and holds the economic development portfolio. Together with her husband, Philip, she is the proprietor and vigneron of Little River Wines Taggerty.

Emma holds a Graduate Diploma in Environment and Planning and a Diploma in Management and was the recipient of the Regional Young Planner of the Year award in 2011.

Christine is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors as well as Murrindindi Food and Wine Inc, the Upper Goulburn Wine Growers Association and Wine Victoria. She joined the Board in March 2013.

Brad Quilliam Murrindindi Skills

Kristen Cherry Mitchell Representative

Brad is the owner and proprietor of Roda Graphics and has been on the Board since its inception in March 2011.

Kristen is the Manager – Active Communities with the Mitchell Shire Council. Her portfolio includes tourism, events, culture, libraries and leisure. She has extensive experience in the area of tourism development.

Brad is active in many community organisations. He is currently President of Murrindindi Inc and the Kinglake Ranges Business Network. Brad is the driving force behind the Foggy Mountain BlueGrass Festival and remains an active contributor to the Kinglake Ranges community recovery effort.

Kristen has a Bachelor of Arts (Tourism), Master of Business (Marketing) and a Graduate Certificate in Economic Development. She was appointed to the Board in August 2014.

Vacant Mitchell Skills Based The position of Mitchell Skills Director was filled by Megan Atar Seven Hills Tallarook until her resignation in February 2015. As at 30 June 2015 the position remains vacant.






Caolan O’Connor Tourism Officer February 2014 to Current

Amanda McCulloch Marketing Executive October 2014 to June 2015


Sarah Casey Tourism Officer May 2015 to October 2015

Ballarat Anthony Pearson Public Officer MB + M Chartered Accountants, Shepparton March 2011 to Current




ve r Go n



Shepparton Y







Waranga Reservoir




THE HEART OF VICTORIA IS FILLED WITH ROLLING HILLS, LUSH FORESTS, MAJESTIC WATER WAYS, RURAL PLAINS AND OF COURSE THE MIGHTY GOULBURN RIVER – THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE REGION. Easy to access for a day trip or delightful for an extended stay, choices are plentiful in the Goulburn River Valley.





Riv er



Lake Alexandra Eildon


The region abounds with culture, intrigue, history, charm, individuality and the best of what nature has to offer. Fantastic events, superb local produce, great wine, fabulous markets and the Great Victorian Rail Trail are all part of the mix. Destinations such as Marysville, Kinglake Ranges, Alexandra and Yea; Seymour, Kilmore, Tallarook Tooborac and Broadford; Euroa, Nagambie and Ruffy; and Shepparton, Murchison, Dookie and Tatura offer something for everyone. It’s easy to love the Heart of Victoria.



For further information contact: Goulburn River Valley Tourism www.goulburnrivervalley.com.au info@goulburnrivervalley.com.au p: (03) 5795 1614 p: 0488 776 733

Profile for Goulburn River Valley Tourism

Goulburn River Valley Tourism Annual Report 2014/2015  

Goulburn River Valley Tourism Annual Report 2014/2015