Visitor Information Centres invaluable for regional tourism Thu 2 August 2012 Scott Bacon Minister for Tourism The role Tasmania's Visitor Information Centres play in promoting tourism in regional areas has been praised at the annual Tasmanian Visitor Information Network conference in Smithton today. The Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon, officially opened the conference this morning, saying the centres play a valuable role in supporting regional tourism and generating business for tourism operators. "The theme of this year's conference is Facing the Future Together, and the transition to a regional, industry-led approach to tourism in Tasmania shows that Government, Tourism Tasmania and our new Regional Tourism Organisations are working collaboratively to support tourism across the state, and face the coming challenges and opportunities together," he said. "While the needs of visitors may change, there will always be a role for the services provided by staff in our 22 Tasmanian Visitor Information Network Centres. "They help visitors get the information they need, and connect them with the tourist experiences, resources and booking services that help bring them closer to the places they visit. "They also encourage visitors to explore further and discover the unique characteristics of the local community, region and even other parts of Tasmania - getting visitors to extend their stay and contribute more to the local economy." At the conference, Mr Bacon also announced the Tasmanian Visitor Information Network would receive a grant of $20,000 as part of a broader package for the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania, which is helping operators take advantage of new and emerging technologies to boost their business. "Getting tourism operators online, and finding new and innovative ways for Tasmanian businesses to promote themselves to the widest possible audience is essential if they are to thrive into the future," he said. "This funding will help the Tasmanian Visitor Information Network develop a new application for mobile phones that will give visitors easy access to a range of information about the experiences on offer in Tasmania - driving routes, directions, trails, tours, accommodation, restaurants and special offers." Mr Bacon commended the many paid and volunteer visitor centre staff throughout the state for their commitment and their efforts to work together to plan and prepare for the future. "While we can never predict what lies around the corner, it is vital that we make every effort to discover and understand what the future may hold," he said. "Through events like the TVIN Expo and Conference, our visitor information centres are creating the opportunity to become more aware and better equipped to service the future information and travel needs of our visitors." The Tasmanian Visitor Information Network Conference is an annual event, run for the staff and management of the state's 22 'yellow i' visitor information centres located throughout the state. The TVIN is an independent network of council and privately owned and operated visitor information centres that operate seven days a week under a prescribed set of service guidelines. The State Government, through Tourism Tasmania, provides funding to assist the TVIN and support the operation of the state's three major gateway visitor centres in Launceston, Hobart and Devonport.