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TCVB Welcomes Aussies

The Australians Are Coming and Kudos to the Central Sierra Arts Council

Fall started off on a very international note as Nanci Sikes, Executive Director of the Bureau visited 3 cities in her 5 day whirlwind tour of Australia representing the High Sierra Visitors Council. The Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau (TCVB) is a member along with other bureaus covering the area from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe.

The trip included sales calls and trade shows with travel agents and tour operators as part of a delegation representing the state of California. They began in Sydney, moved on the Melbourne, then up to Brisbane winding for a final day in Sydney again.

She reports an extremely enthusiastic reception in all 3 cities; particularly Brisbane. One contributing note to that enthusiasm was the fact that while she was there, the Australian dollar and the US dollar hit parity for the first time in anyone’s memory. Over the last 20 years or so, the exchange rate for the Australian dollar

has been around 65 to 70 cents US on average. In other words, California and the US became dramatically cheaper for Aussie’s wanting to visit. (‘Sorry for those of you planning a trip to Australia: that change will increase your costs considerably if you’re paying in US dollars.)

Agents and tour operators told the delegation that many of them are dramatically stepping up efforts to sell the US and California in particular because of it’s appeal and the fact that it no longer cost 20-30% more than Canada; a popular destination for Australians for many years. Look for more Aussie’s to be in our area in the future.

On another note, the Visitors Bureau wants to encourage our community to continue supporting the arts. Our large and highly professional arts community is a big draw for visitors; from our very lively performing arts scene to the wonderful and talented artists whose works fill our many local galleries.

Kudos to the Central Sierra Arts Council for their excellent efforts to bring the arts community together in a common focus. In that vein, if you’re a photographer and want to showcase your work, don’t forget the Arts Council’s 24th Annual InFocus Photographic Competition and Exhibition. This is a great time of year to put your photographic skills to work. Entries are due Jan 27–29 at the George Post Gallery on Washington Street. The awards reception ceremony will take place on February 5. For more details visit their website at www.centralsierraarts.org.