MyClarenceValley posted this photo of a Yamba sunset to its social media platforms. Clarence Valley Council's division to promote tourism in the region has 10,000 followers on 18,000 on Facebook. Photo: @_.jessica.robertson
MyClarenceValley posted this photo of a Yamba sunset to its social media platforms. Clarence Valley Council's division to promote tourism in the region has 10,000 followers on 18,000 on Facebook. Photo: @_.jessica.robertson

Social media plays pitoval role to showcase tourist hotspots

THESE days it is no secret social media plays perhaps the biggest role in creating brand awareness for businesses and organisations .

It no doubt plays an increasing role for the Clarence Valley tourism industry. While most accommodation and entertainment venues have stepped up their social media game in recent years, Clarence Valley Council's award-winning tourism division MyClarenceValley has continued to expand its social media reach, casting the net over as many potential visitors to the region as possible.

The past couple of months have provided an added challenge for all businesses and organisations to keep their followers engaged. Meanwhile the hashtag #MyClarenceValley has continued to be given a solid workout to promote the region's tourist hotspots during lockdown.

"We have continued to mindfully promote the region to our 10,000 Instagram followers and 18,000 Facebook followers by encouraging planning and dreaming of a visit to the Clarence Valley," council's marketing and brand officer Louise Gumb said.

Ms Gumb said a lot of work has been done to ensure the Clarence Valley tourism industry is in the best position possible to bounce back in the wake of COVID-19.

"Our COVID-19 tourism focus has been around supporting our local businesses," she said.

"We have been assisting our local businesses in preparation for the relaxing of travel restrictions in several ways.

"We have been making sure our local businesses are visible online through the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) that feeds to visitnsw.com and our website myclarencevalley.com plus hundreds of other websites globally.

"We have a focus page for the Clarence Valley and our major towns on VisitNSW. We also use #visitnsw, #newsouthwales and tag @visitnsw in all of our posts.

"We drive itineraries shared with Destination NSW, and of course we've used the campaign hashtag #LoveNSW since its inception and have encouraged our local businesses to do so."

Throughout June and July the Clarence Valley will be featured in a NSW Government domestic tourism campaign to encourage regional travel after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The scene of a hot-air balloon ride over the Clarence River was the result of a collaboration between council and Destination NSW during the Jacaranda Festival.

"These things don't just happen," Ms Gumb said.

"The main reason why they included the hot balloon ride over the Clarence during Jacaranda time in their promotional video is due to the relationship we have built with them over the last four years."

During the COVID-19 lockdown Clarence Valley Council has also engaged business specialists Alt Collective to assist local businesses initially through the bushfires then through COVID-19.

Alt Collective, which is part of the Federal Governments Entrepreneurship Facilitators Program, reported that council staff contacted about 200 businesses most impacted by the restrictions to offer support.

"The phone calls were greatly appreciated by businesses who were completely perplexed by the sudden changes," Ms Gumb said.

"Alt-Collective have subsequently connected with 100 of those businesses and been able to provide tailored support to around 70 of those businesses."

"The tailored support has ranged from helping to create win-win agreements between landlords and tenants, helping businesses access bushfire grants, marketing and communications strategies through COVID, COVIDSafe plans and post COVID strategies.

"Support has also included referring businesses onto relevant services such as local accountants and professional services to make sure they're accessing all the support they can get through the government support."