Liverpool Plains Shire Council’s (LPSC) Visitor Information Centre (VIC), located on the New England Highway at Willow Tree, is celebrating its 10th birthday, having opened on 14 September 2010.
“The VIC has proven to be a great community asset for the Shire, attracting over 130,000 visitors since its opening, from all over Australia as well as International travellers from New Zealand, England, the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Japan, Russia, Bolivia and South Africa,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope.
“Thanks to the VIC many of the people who are travelling around now spend a couple of days discovering the Shire, its attractions and the splendour of a uniquely beautiful part of rural Australia stretching from the Great Dividing Range to the prime agricultural lands of the rolling plains to the west. The VIC also plays an important role as an economic driver for the whole Shire as visitors spend money with local businesses while they are here.
“Council has continued to develop the VIC site since its opening and the Kamilaroi, a Highway a People display in the forecourt has proven a very popular attraction for tourists. The VIC’s promotion of the sunflower as a symbol of our Shire has also been particularly successful with many people now visiting on an annual basis when they are in bloom. The VIC has also collaborated with the NSW Office of the Small Business Commissioner and local entrepreneurs to develop Agritourism as another economic driver,” he said.
“Council is extremely proud of the fact that the VIC has also been recognised through numerous awards including a Highly commended in the 2012 Payce Communities Local Government Excellence in Property Awards, the 2015 Regional Tourism Awards Encouragement Award, the 2016 Regional Tourism Silver Award and a Highly Commended at the NSW State Tourism Awards, the 2017 Northern Inland Innovation Award, Professional and Government Services Winner for the Liverpool Plains Recreational Vehicle (RV) Strategy and the 2018 Regional Tourism Bronze Award.
“The VIC is also an important hub for the Willow Tree community providing a library drop box, free use of computers, printing and fax services, internet classes for Seniors, events promotion and as a drop-off point for all sorts of things,” he continued.
“This year also marks the 10th anniversary of VIC Manager Nikki Robertson’s association with the Centre. Nikki started off working weekends in 2010, from 2012 she worked part-time three days a week and since 2013 she’s proven to be a very competent full-time manager. Much of the VIC’s success can be attributed to her warm, friendly personality, her knowledge of tourism locally and in the wider region plus the rapport she develops with visitors,” he said.
Nikki says she has never had a bad day at the VIC, meeting so many interesting people and always learning more about this beautiful country and our wonderful area in particular.
She said there are many people who have been involved over the years in building the success of the VIC and that every one of them, no matter how big or small their effort is appreciated.
“Nikki’s work also entails organising pop up VIC’s at events like the Currabubula and Blackville Markets, the Quirindi Show and Sister City events in Blacktown. She also collaborates with neighbouring areas, the AVIC network Accredited Visitor Information Centres, as well as the Kamilaroi Highway Group and Destination Country and Outback in promoting LP as a destination.
“Happy 10th Anniversary to the VIC and to Nikki on reaching this milestone. You’re being in Willow Tree has supported the evolution of a vibrant main street with entrepreneurial businesses catering for the hungry traveller with a wide range of options available. I look forward to the VIC achieving much more success in the future. Your role during and when we come out of COVID-19 restrictions will be vitally important in supporting regeneration of the Shire economy,” Councillor Hope concluded.