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In a regional city, every industry is connected

If the climate is bad for the primary industries in a regional city, the foot traffic – yes, even of board gamers – shows that every industry is intertwined.

Over the course of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, roughly 200 board gamers collectively raised A$8,000 for the McGrath Foundation. But that wasn’t the biggest contribution we made, as we slung dice, flipped cards and got surprisingly aggro over rule disputes.

BorderCon takes place in the regional city of Albury every year, and most of those board game geeks attending stay at the venue that hosts the convention: the Hovell Tree Inn. On the way home, I was laughing about the fact that the managers of that hotel would be factoring a horde of gamers into their annual budgets and planning.

(Side note: as soon as my gang of four arrived, the staff went downstairs to get more beer. That’s a concrete example of using past data in forward planning, while holding off until the Last Responsible Moment. There’s no point chilling all that excess Carlton Draught if we unexpectedly skip the event this year.)

Now, you would think a place like Albury would be relatively self-sufficient, but there are a lot of empty shopfronts on the main drag. Drought has meant fewer cows for sale, which means fewer trips to Albury by people who buy cows, which means less work at the slaughterhouses, which means fewer rooms booked in hotels, which means less foot traffic on the streets, which means…

…actually, it is important to plan for those board gamers coming to town.

Not that we present a huge boost to the economy, but we’re one of thousands of tiny subcultures, clubs, organisations or communities who book space to do stuff. Think of all the awards ceremonies or conferences or reunions of people who need a destination in which to congregate, perform their activities then eat, drink and be merry.

If the weather is unkind to a primary industry, we visitors and our beer tokens grow in importance, so we’re worth cultivating for repeat business.

Certainly, there were people already booking their accommodation for BorderCon 2020 on the last day.

In the emergency services, there’s often a lot of talk about interoperability – trying to figure out the best ways for fireys, ambos and cops to communicate and work together in a crisis. For a city like Albury, it’s equally important to get those synergies happening when times are tough. If the problems of one sector knock on to become that of another, more effort should go into working on collective solutions.

Like free Carlton Draught for online influencers who talk up your beautiful city, friendly people and excellent businesses. Just a thought.

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