The Kimba District Council have been gathering feedback from tourists staying at the free camping site in the town.
The council’s regional youth trainee Hayley Jericho, who is studying tourism, has organised survey for visitors to gather more localised tourism data.
Corporate services manager Lyndon Keane said there was no baseline tourism data available for Kimba itself, and the council previously relied on the statistics of the Eyre Peninsula as a whole.
It is hard to translate that data to Kimba, which does not have the coastal trade of most other towns in the region.
Ms Jericho said the council often receives compliments from passers-by on the facilities available at the free camping site and the town more generally.
She said that without recording those compliments, “You don’t really have any proof of what they actually said.”
Survey forms have been available to campers for around six to eight weeks, and Ms Jericho has so far manually compiled 139.
The survey form asks how long each traveller is staying, how much they have spent in the town and for feedback on the available facilities.
Ms Jericho said the average camper stays for one night, and spends $50-100 at local businesses in the town.
A purpose of the survey is to look for ways to encourage tourists to stay longer and spend more in the area.
While tourists can drop their survey forms in a box at the free camping site, some come in to the council to deliver it in person.
Ms Jericho said she had heard stories of tourists making sure to save their receipts at local businesses to give an accurate answer about their local spending.
Overall she said the responses had been positive, with interstate travellers impressed with the free camping concept and the quality of facilities.
“They wish other councils would do what we’ve done,” she said.
Mr Keane said positive feedback had a flow-on effect in increasing tourism.
“If they can go away happy, they’ll tell everyone else.”
Ms Jericho said the negative responses they have received were also helpful for drawing more people to the town.
“You want that because you know where you’re going wrong.”
Mr Keane said the feedback had validated the necessity of installing a second amenities block, which will be complete by early 2019.
Funding for the build came from the Community Benefits Program, and with $5000 coming through the camping area donation box in the past four months, the council is confident upkeep costs will be negligible.
“The facility is paying for itself... which as a council is ideal,” he said.