Tourism Minister David Ridgway has left Whyalla excited about the future of the steel city after making a visit to hear the ideas and concerns of local tourism representatives.
Mr Ridgway was at the Alexander Hotel last Wednesday as part of a series of Meet the Minister events that he is hosting around South Australia.
He met with members of the Whyalla Tourism Focus Group and representatives from companies Becker Helicopters and Clean Seas – both of which are investing in key local projects.
Mr Ridgway believes there must be a focus on diversifying Whyalla’s economy to help the city move forward.
“When the steelworks were under threat Whyalla was in a difficult situation, the more diverse your economy can be the better off the community is,” he said.
Mr Ridgway said a common issue that was being raised right through the Upper Spencer Gulf was the difficult task of getting tourists to stay more than one day in country towns.
“The cuttlefish are in town which is fabulous, but we need to look at strategies to get those people who have come to see them to stay for another two or three days,” he said.
“We need to get the message out to the broader traveling community that we have a richer offering in these towns.”
Whyalla Tourism Focus Group Chairperson Barbara Derham spoke to the Minister about the need for the South Australian Tourism Commission to have a bigger focus on Whyalla.
“The main concern I had was that the tourism commission doesn’t give us as much attention as they do other areas like Kangaroo Island and the Barossa,” she said.
“We have a lot to offer, like weekend stays at the Point Lowly Cottage.”
Ms Derham also discussed the focus group’s push for Whyalla’s foreshore area to be marketed as Whyalla Bay.
“We want to promote water sports like windsurfing and kayaking more,” she said.
Mr Ridgway also hosted Meet the Minister events in Port Pirie, Port Lincoln and Ceduna.