Visitor centres are more important than they might seem, according to outgoing Mt Barker Visitor Centre coordinator Kirsten Beidatsch.
You may have met Ms Beidatsch if you’ve popped your head into the Mt Barker Visitor Centre in recent years.
Having filled the role of coordinator since 2017, Ms Beidatsch has worked to connect tourism businesses, the community and tourists within the Shire.
“We were that link between people new to the region and people who are local who are maybe looking for new experiences and those businesses,” she said.
Visitor Centre provides local knowledge
Visitor centres play a pivotal role in connecting people with small businesses in regional tourism towns, like Mount Barker.
“I don’t think that when you are travelling you can go past local knowledge,” Ms Beidatsch said.
“We are able to recommend businesses and experiences that maybe aren’t well promoted online.
“We might just offer word of mouth recommendations to people about things they can find, places they can go, experiences they can participate in.
“If you don’t go and actually speak to a local, that’s something you’re never going to find out.”
Key role in connecting community
Ms Beidatsch said the importance of visitor centres is often overlooked.
“People would come to Mt Barker who couldn’t go to Denmark because there wasn’t a centre and because Albany’s centre isn’t open seven days a week,” she said.
“We would often get spill over people who wanted that visitor information and didn’t want to just Google the questions.
“They actually wanted to talk to someone so they could come into Mt Barker.”
Whether its through volunteering with the State Emergency Service or assisting with the community garden, Ms Beidatsch has a passion for lending a helping hand.
“In the community is certainly where I want to be working,” she said.
“I have newly gradated my anthropology degree and that’s obviously all about people and culture.
“I am always trying to do my part, whether that’s in a career or volunteer sense, to try and bring the community together more.”