EDITORIAL: Keeping modern tourist necessities on tap

Part of the allure of the South Coast for holiday makers is the promise of escaping the shackles of modern life and city living and immersing oneself in nature. 

But there’s a difference between cutting down on your internet time and being cut off all together. 

Holiday makers in Tathra suffered Wi-Fi withdraws last Wednesday when a lightning strike cut internet service to a town already notorious for its patchy mobile reception. 

But it’s not the first time a vital service have dried up during tourist season, forcing our seasonal guests to go without. 

On January 3, 1968 - exactly 50 years earlier to the day - the Bega District News reported that water supplies were so low in the region it was creating tensions between locals and tourists.

Reservoirs were run dry and extreme water restrictions were enforced.

“The permanent resident feels he must endure water restrictions to provide for the newcomer who had no part in paying for the water scheme,” the article read.

On the other hand the visitor “feels he has the same right to all the water he needs, and in most camping areas this summer and previous summers there has not been enough.”

Fifty years ago the concern was clear: If the region cannot reliably deliver this most basic human necessity, it could set a blossoming tourism industry into decline. 

The article noted the rising popularity of the Bega Valley coastline will “make more urgent the task of supplying adequate water, or more water, to holiday areas”, and “it is a bad advertisement for any holiday area to lack water.”

Substitute the word ‘water’ for ‘internet’ and we find ourselves facing the same problem 50 years down the track. 

For the city slicker or international tourist, the internet is a human necessity, as vital to their survival as running water.  

Indeed the travelling millennial may ask, ‘what’s the point of going on holiday if I can’t upload the experience to social media?’

As the modern visitor evolves, so to should our infrastructure to host them. Stronger, more reliable internet will ensure we can accommodate guests and keep them returning in the future. 

And it’s about much more than being good hosts. With 40 per cent of the region’s jobs linked to tourism, investing in stable and reliable internet infrastructure is just common sense. 

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