Visitor centre’s golden future

TOURISM WIN-WIN: Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray and Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre owner Tom Coultan are looking to the future of Tamworth’s Visitor Information Centre. 
Photo: Geoff O’Neill 150514GOF02

TOURISM WIN-WIN: Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray and Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre owner Tom Coultan are looking to the future of Tamworth’s Visitor Information Centre. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 150514GOF02

A NEW deal will help ensure Tamworth’s most recognisable icon – the Big Golden Guitar – remains a beacon for visitors long into the future.

That is the view of the attraction’s owner, Tom Coultan, as he prepares to formalise a public-private partnership with Tamworth Regional Council.

Mr Coultan, whose business took ownership of the Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre about six years ago, said it would be a “win-win” for his business and other tourism operators.

Under the arrangement, the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) will relocate to the Ringers Rd site ,where tourist centre staff will handle the commercial side of the business.

Both the council and Mr Coultan insist the VIC’s numerous volunteers, many of whom have donated countless hours over many years, will still have an important part to play.

Mr Coultan said the Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre, which receives vastly more visitors each year than the VIC, had long struggled to monetise interest in the icon.

“We have thousands and thousands of people come and have their photos taken, but you can’t get them inside to spend their money,” he said.

“I think that if we had a full tourist information centre there it would help us get people inside the building.”

Tamworth Regional Council has conceded that standalone, council-operated visitor information centres struggle to compete with similar facilities linked to high-profile attractions.

Mr Coultan said the Big Golden Guitar was inextricably linked to Tamworth’s status as the Country Music Capital and the town needed the centre to be commercially viable.

“I’m 100 per cent sure that we will represent the tourist industry in Tamworth, like accommodation, better because I’ve been in business since I was 19 years of age,” he said.

“I believe that with us having the VIC, more information about country music and Tamworth will get out to the general travelling public.”

The relocation is expected to take place in the coming months once renovations to accommodate the VIC office are completed.

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