Tourism After 5’s motto is ‘Tourism is Everyone’s Business’ and they believe all businesses benefit from tourism.

“We love bringing the tourism businesses of the Dilly together in a non- competitive environment and we see a lot of business being done at these functions,” President Mark Hardacre said.

“Tourism after 5 started in 2000 when I worked at council. After 2016 flood which wiped out the Old Post office the group went into hiatus,” Mark Bowden recalls.

In 2019 Blair Briggs approached Lyn Fairley-Davey and asked if they could kick in and get it going again. The group was down to about 12.

Since 2019, they have built it back to 74 business members!

This month’s catch up was at The Oaks Hotel in The Oaks, where Patrick Nellestein from River Road Creative Academy brought in a fun activity. He introduced the group to the joy of music and had the audience come and play along with him.

Tourism after 5 have four general meetings a year to discuss industry issues and promotion. They enjoy the executive meets 4 times a year, with a Happy Hour just to “do the boring stuff” like paying bills, etc.

While the group tries not to be a lobby group as such, they do provide a conduit for their members to discretely raise issues and advocate for them.

Over the last couple of years, members have been pushing hard for Agritourism to make the rules and regulations easier for farmers to come into tourism with small events and markets.

They also have members sitting on councils Tourism Advisory Group & Economic Development Strategic Reference Group.

The membership fee is $100 a year, which covers four Tourism After 5 functions a year, which are moved around the Shire to showcase member venues and get everyone working together.

“Our events are usually well attended; we enjoy meeting so many other local businesses in the area and encourage everyone to get involved and support local business for tourism,” Mr Bowden said.

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–  Sharon Robertson