Accommodation and tourism operators throughout the Camden Haven met at the Laurieton United Services Club last Tuesday night to formulate a strategy for developing the image of the Camden Haven as one of Australia’s hotspots for both domestic and international travellers. There were over twenty five businesses in attendance to develop a mission and business plan for the Camden Haven.
“It is fantastic that the whole group enthusiastically supports the idea that we need to pull our valley of villages together as one identified area that provides a diversity of experiences for the discerning traveller,” said Garry Carpenter, President of the Chamber of Commerce.
“High quality tourism benefits not only the tourist operators but almost every business in the area.”
Three weeks ago Daily Telegraph travel journalist Brian Johnston wrote in the Weekend Escape section of the paper that the Camden Haven was ‘the loveliest place you’ve probably not heard of’. Ron Payne from the Haven Waters Motel, who has been working hard on promoting the Camden Haven on the Destination NSW website said that whilst Brian’s comments might be true now, they won’t be in the future.
The meeting noted that the Camden Haven was the sum of many diverse attractions. By pulling together it would assist the Chamber, tourist operators, local politicians and council to build stronger relationships with regional, state and federal tourist bodies, important tourist and accommodation websites and a host of other agencies that can assist in building our brand.
The meeting was led by the CEO of the Port Chamber of Commerce, Lisa McPherson. Lisa helped direct discussion on the development of a coordinated vision and brand statement for the Camden Haven.
“One of the great strengths that the Camden Haven has is the warm and friendly people of our villages,” Mr Carpenter said.
“We are also resourceful and we ‘punch above our weight’ when it comes to community spirit and community based events. Slice of Haven is arguably the best gourmet food and wine event in the state and it is run entirely by volunteers. The event, which was specifically developed to promote the ‘Haven’ as a slice of paradise from Comboyne to the sea, has been successful in raising the profile of the area.”
Mr Carpenter said it became apparent in the meeting that whilst the area’s beaches and waterways are important, our national parks, hinterland bush trails and quirky cafes like Beetroot’d and the Macadamia Farm, are critical to providing a balanced menu of activities for tourists. The group is excited about moving forward. They acknowledge that while the area is part of Greater Port Macquarie, is it critical that the Camden Haven brand is developed.
“This is a strategy that the Chamber of Commerce hopes that the whole community will embrace,” Mr Payne said.
The Chamber’s Tourism Marketing Co-operative has recently been given the green light to proceed with the production of a new website to showcase the region - visitcamdenhaven.com.au. It is hoped to set the website live by mid-August. To join the project phone Ron Payne on 6559 9303.