Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce President George Cecato.
Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce President George Cecato. Coffs Coast Advocate/Bruce Thomas

Sign up to be a tourist

A LOCAL organisation wants Coffs Coast residents to 'act like tourists' this weekend to help identify the gaps in tourism signage on our roads.

Coffs Coast Tourism Association chairperson, George Cecato, is seeking public input on the issue of adequate tourism signage.

"We want residents to be tourists for a day - to take a drive and see whether the signage on the Pacific Highway leads you to where it says it should," Mr Cecato said.

"You should try and take a tourist's perspective and follow the signs, not follow the way you do as a local."

The Association is trying to identify signage shortfalls and is seeking information on what direction you travel, what the sign says, what roads you turn into and where the gaps in signage are.

The signage shortfall is an ongoing issue on the Coffs Coast, with business owners and groups loudly calling for the problem to be addressed.

In January, then owner of Northwall Surf and Souvenirs, Carol Cleary, said not a day goes by where she wasn't answering the questions of bewildered visitors to Coffs Harbour.

Mrs Cleary said providing directions from the marina to a patrolled beach confused tourists even more.

At the time, Coffs Coast Marketing manager, Rob Cleary, said the opening of the Hogbin Drive extension would increase signage.

But by June, signage was back in the news with Jetty business owners Mal Mason and Craig Scott claiming the lack of signs means tourists only stumble across the Jetty by accident.

"Most people don't even realise the Jetty Strip is here, the signage is terrible," Mr Mason said.

Mr Scott agreed, saying bad signage meant tourists miss out on the best parts of Coffs Harbour.

However, Mr Cecato said tourism signage is a complicated issue due to red tape.

"Certain roads are the responsibility of certain agencies, and there really is a greater need for synergy with what's on the highway and what's on the roads in town," he said.

"If you're a tourist and you follow a sign that doesn't take you anywhere, you get frustrated."

Residents can send their comments to info@coffstourism.com or contact Tracey on 6651 7766.

The information gathered from 'local tourists' will be tabled at a meeting between the Chamber of Commerce sub-committee, the Tourist Attraction Signposting Assessment Committee (TASAC), PCTR and local councils on Wednesday, August 6.


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