BALLARAT Regional Tourism has welcomed its move to an independent body.
BRT chairman George Sossi said yesterday it would provide more responsibility and independence to the tourism industry.
Ballarat City Council separated its tourism arm early last year, forming Ballarat Regional Tourism, which has a skills-based board.
At its Wednesday night meeting, council voted to transfer BRT’s ownership to the private sector from January 1 next year.
“Ballarat’s tourism sector is strong and mature and no longer requires leadership from council,” Mr Sossi said.
“The sector is ready to step up and take tourism growth to the next level.
“The growth of Ballarat’s tourism industry is in our hands now and I can’t think of a more promising future.”
Ballarat City Council will continue to provide funding to the board but it will depend on it meeting strict key performance indicators.
BRT will be governed by a memorandum of understanding and will operate under a service level agreement with council.
Speaking at Wednesday night’s meeting, councillor Cheryl Bromfield said it had been very rewarding to see how BRT had matured over the past 12 months.
“They have certainly kicked some goals,” Cr Bromfield said.
“The restructuring will remove confusion over who they are.”
Councillor Samantha McIntosh said the move would market Ballarat tourism in a stronger light and attract new events.
However, councillor Judy Verlin said BRT and the council must make sure it was a “true partnership going forward”.
“But they have the skills to take us into the future,” Cr Verlin said.