Local spend increases in Cowell

The Franklin Harbour District Council are beginning to notice an increase in local spending in comparison with this time last year.

The council recently purchased Spendmapp software to track the spending of locals and visitors in the district and see how much locals were spending elsewhere.

The data is backdated from late 2017, and the council is now able to compare the busy summer season of 2018-2019 with the previous year.

January is a major season for spending in the district, with almost double spend on dining and entertainment than any other category.

In January 2019, Cowell residents spent $900,000 more within the district than they did in 2018, a 4.78% increase.

In the same period 'escape spend' decreased by 4.42%.

Tourism officer Stacey Franklin said the council could only speculate as to the cause of the upwards trend in local spending.

She said the change could reflect "cautious" spending habits due to the drought conditions, with fewer residents going away over the summer.

However, the trend also reflects a message the council has been pushing over the past few months to buy local.

Using communication tools including the council newsletter, Mrs Franklin said there had been an effort to remind the community to support local business as drought conditions affect spending.

"We're just trying to have it in the front of their minds to support local business," she said.

"We want those businesses to continue to exist."

With some of the $1 million in federal drought funding allocated to the district, the council partnered with a range of local businesses to assist them in a radio advertising campaign, and has funded a tourism advertisement for television.

The 5cc radio campaign was broadcast throughout the summer, which has proven to be a significant one for tourism in the district.

In January alone, visitor spend in the district was up 5.65%, with an even more significant increase in February.

Mrs Franklin said the council would continue to remind the community of the importance of buying local.

"I think we need to continue, drought or no drought, to raise awareness to support the local businesses," she said.