Amazing South Coast Tourism has ceased operations after a search for future funding came up short and the organisation struggled to secure new members. The destination marketing organisation brought together the City of Albany, Shire of Denmark and Shire of Plantagenet to promote a unified brand to attract tourists. Incorporated in July 2018, ASCT took on the operation of the Shire of Denmark and Shire of Plantagenet visitor centres and aimed to streamline promotion of the region’s tourism operators, events and assets through multi-platform advertising, brochures and a website. But the vision has fallen short. ASCT treasurer and founding board member Peter Snow said the decision was made at a special general meeting on July 26, where the majority of almost 100 members backed the board’s proposal to wind down operations. “With the inability to actually have any reasonable funding for marketing, which is what the aim of Amazing South Coast Tourism was, destination marketing to get people to the region, there seemed little point in continuing,” he said. “All but one member voted in favour of the winding up and the de-registration. It’s a very simple exercise, you can’t run a destination marketing body without the marketing money.” Mr Snow said bringing in new members from existing tourism bodies had been a major stumbling block. Of the 297 members of Denmark Tourism Inc, fewer than 100 chose to sign up to ASCT in 2018, Mr Snow said. “It is very disappointing. We know the objective is right, the problem is acceptance by the majority of people to look at the bigger picture rather than their own particular government area,” Mr Snow said. “The idea was right, the execution was disappointing and disjointed. The lack of an executive officer for seven months after the merged operation commenced had a major impact on the momentum that was the motivating force to get it rolling in the first place.” Mr Snow said despite the demise of ASCT, there would be shire-specific tourism bodies working to promote the region. Groups such as Great Southern Tourism Events, which supports Taste Great Southern, would continue. Mr Snow said once the boom of WA travellers exploring their backyard wore off, the same issues the ASCT was trying to fix would resurface. “I think we are reverting to the pre-2018 period where each of the local government areas pushes their own barrow and you end up with not getting the consolidated bang for the buck of promotion of the whole region,” he said. “Unfortunately, long term when the borders do reopen ... it will revert to the way it was, that is there is a scramble to try and get people to the area to compete with cheap overseas holidays and that’s of concern.” City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said it was disappointing news. “The Amazing South Coast has spent a fair amount of money in the past few years to establish our brand and one of the things that is becoming more obvious right at the moment with COVID-19 is there is not a lot of reason to do a lot of marketing outside of town because people are coming here anyway,” he said. “We knew they were not travelling as well as they could be but it’s not something you expect out of it. “But COVID has changed the rules of the game so they may be reading it correctly, they may not, I am not sure at this stage.” Mr Wellington said without a united body, the region still had a lot to offer. “The fact that the organisation is not there is not going to alter the fact that the amazing south coast is still the greatest place in WA in terms of what it has to offer,” he said.