New Chair for Bendigo Tourist Board

BSSC Alumni, Kathie Bolitho, has been named the new Chair of the Bendigo Tourism Board.

Ms Bolitho runs Tough Cookie Marketing and has more than 25 years’ experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. She takes over from Bob Downing, who will remain on the board.

“I have some big footsteps to follow because Bob is so active. But it will be nice to have him there to give me a hand,” Ms Bolitho said.

The tourism board also appointed Sharon Carlson as deputy chair, Tony Edgar as treasurer, Bruce Phillips as secretary and Evonne Oxenham as public relations officer.

Ms Bolitho said it was an exciting time for tourism in Bendigo and believes the success of tourism in the city should be everyone’s business.

“It is a time now where we look toward next 12 months and ensure how all markets and assets are being utilised,” she said.

“I’d like to think tourism is Bendigo’s biggest strength. People might argue with it but the last statistics I saw said of 52,000 people employed in Bendigo, 8000 are tourism-based.

“That’s 15 per cent of the city’s employment. So I think everyone should support tourism and the impact has on the economy.”

Ms Bolitho said she estimated the tourism dollar brings an average of $1.1 million into Bendigo each day.

“If we reduce that number, how does that money go back into the (local) economy? It makes good business sense to attract money and investment form elsewhere,” she said.

“Rather than rely on locals, we need to fish in a bigger pond and attract money from outside the city rather than everyone competing for the same dollar.

“We have come from a more heritage-based tourism with buildings, trams and gold mines and combined it with galleries, arts and food.

“With more liaison with Bendigo’s outer regions and smaller towns, it means the region has more to offer people who will want to stay longer, spend more money locally and come back again.”