Paul O’Neill (Treasurer) and I attended a meeting in February at Healesville High School, with the Principal (Allan Rennick) and the VCAL Coordinator (Aidan Hogg). For the last couple of years TNYV has been providing an annual bursary of $1000 to the High School to assist in the training of VCal students majoring in hospitality-related subjects. During 2019, the $1000 bursary was used to provide Barista training for their Year 11 & 12 VCAL students. A “commercial scale” coffee machine has been donated by some parents. The objective this year is to have a sufficient number of trainees across the two year levels to support a small business venture which would provide catering services within the school on a regular basis and for one-off in-school functions. I am delighted to report that the TNYV Committee has approved payment of the $1000 bursary for 2020. I wish Allan, Aidan and the students every success in their endeavours.
As you will read elsewhere in the newsletter, we had a highly enjoyable networking breakfast at Yarrawood Winery. I would like to thank Tim and his staff for a relaxing couple of hours in a lovely environment. The great food was only surpassed by the great company. Thank you to the Networking & Events sub-committee for another great pick! I look forward to our next networking event at Rayner’s Orchard, Woori Yallock on the evening of Tuesday, 17th March.
The good news is that our membership is continuing to grow – we now have 123 members. However, the most encouraging aspect of our growth of our association is the increased diversity of our membership. Some years ago, roughly 70% of our member businesses were in accommodation, but now that has fallen to under 35% due to the increased representation of businesses in tourist attractions, hospitality, supply & service, touring, and wineries/breweries. This is indeed encouraging, as it provides us all with the opportunity to develop synergies between diverse businesses across the tourism sector.
Whilst many of member businesses have felt the effect of the widespread bushfires throughout south-eastern Australia over recent months, many of these same businesses and many others besides now have to deal with the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on tourism numbers, particularly those from overseas. I would encourage all our members to do what they can to help their fellow businesses and share information about the latest health advisories and advice you may receive from your OTAs or other business/industry authorities on how to deal with the direct health threat of the Coronavirus and its effects on your respective business. Best wishes for the month ahead. Above all – stay safe.