Archive for October, 2010

truly the king of parks

truly the king of parks

October 18, 2010  |  travel tips and tales  |  No Comments

King’s Park in Perth is the most visited tourist attraction in WA with millions of people passing through part of its 400 hectares annually. It’s a spectacular setting, high on the limestone escarpment hugging the Swan River, elevated 65m above the city of Perth

Visiting King’s Park at any time of year is exciting, but to do so on a 30 degree Perth Day in early October is a treat. King’s Park, with its myriad of bushland walks harbouring over 300 native species, also houses the Botanic Gardens. Featuring over 2000 of WA’s 12000 species of flora, the biodiversity is amazing. This was just the time to stroll through the gardens, with flowers of all shapes and sizes drawing people and birds like magnets to their colour and nectar. The amazing display of kangaroo paw, such as the one on the left, was a sight to behold. A little Rhodanthe (which used to be included in the genus Helipterum) is shown with its colurful pink flowers at right.

I love the emphasis on learning at King’s Park, a trend that aligns with the increasing desire of people to understand what they are experiencing when they travel. Education programs are facilitated by programs and events, many of which are provided by volunteers. Even if vistors are not absorbed about things botanical, there are some accessible learning points about species such as this grevillea (left) and the impressive grass trees shown to the right (Xanthorea preisi) that are so abundant and important, not only in the bush walks and the Botanic gardens, but throughout Western Australia.

 It’s clear that Western Australians take pride in their major tourist attraction. There is seamless co-operation between the responsible Government managers, private sector sponsors and volunteers.  This sense of co-operation extends to concerts and events that are regularly accommodated in the expansive lawn areas. As a matter of fact, the lawns were good enough to putt on!

There is much to learn about the indigenous and European settlement of WA, about the incredible biodiversity in the State and about the geology of the escarpment and the restoration that is taking place. King’s Park provides an excellent static and living education service. Just check out the website to get a flavour of this, the expansive area involved and the quality of the site. Featured here is a lovely blue Leschenaultia sp. on the left and a striking Darwinia sp. on the right. The subject matter was excellent as these images were taken on a mobile phone! Make sure you build King’s Park into your next WA visit. Pity it doesn’t have an Aboriginal name.

By the way,  the featured image is the flower or Eucalpytus macrocarpa, or Mottlecah, native to south west WA.

an amazing larry cherubino wine under hidden label

October 17, 2010  |  wine review  |  No Comments

The acclaimed winemaker, Larry Cherubino, has been making fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River and Frankland River in recent years. Since he escaped the big corporates (where he was winemaker for Houghton’s and Hardy’s Tintara), Larry has offered the market premium wines under three brands – Ad Hoc, The Yard and Cherubino. The Cherubino Cabernet from Margaret River retails from cellar door for $75 and The Yard Cabernet from Frankland River sells for $35,

Imagine my surprise to crack the code at Kemeny’s on a hidden label wine that turns out to be The Yard Cabernet (although they describe it as “Margaret River”)……and even better that the price point is $16 per bottle in a dozen lot. This wine is the Kemeny’s Hidden Label Margaret River Cabernet 2009. I am increasingly impressed with Margaret and Frankland River Cabernet. Despite being a Cabernet grower at Coonawarra, I would have to say that Coonawarra is in danger of losing it’s status as Australia’s premium Cabernet region.

Here are my tasting notes for this wine:

It is bright clear in condition – dark crimson with purple tinges. On the nose, the wine screams green capsicum and herbaceous fruit with overtones of blackcurrants. It is lean and attractive on the front palate showing some complex berry fruits, cedar and cassis. This wine develops in the glass and has a wonderful acid, tannin balance, with finesse and a lingering back palate. It is an outstanding and accessible wine which will cellar beautifully if you can keep your hands off it. I scored it 93/100. It has 14% alcohol by volume. Get some before it runs out!!

measuring the effectiveness of tourism promotion

measuring the effectiveness of tourism promotion

October 17, 2010  |  current affairs, knowledge, main blog, management  |  No Comments

Governments, on behalf of taxpayers, are demanding more accountability for the return on investment of public funds allocated to tourism branding and promotion of destinations and events.  Accountability requires appropriate measurement of marketing effectiveness. Globally, there are few examples of systematic approaches to measurement, or even of the alignment of objectives to measurement.

 Brand image is measured by various brand health studies at both national and state level in Australia, but it is often difficult to determine what elements have been important in determining the holistic perception of accumulated beliefs and impressions in the consumers mind.  There is a mix of functional and tangible, as well as psychological and abstract elements that can be influenced by specific destination marketing and other externalities (like political decisions or the behaviour of sporting teams)

 Observers of, and those involved in the tourism industry, continue to lack discipline when making claims about causes and effects from tourism marketing. The worst offenders are those who try and draw direct correlations between advertising campaigns in source markets and international visitor arrivals. Not that the two are unrelated, but generally there is a failure to analyse other variables and to make conclusions about timing. “Arrivals are up, the ad must be working”, they offer in ignorance.

 Visitor arrivals to international markets are determined by four key factors. These are:

 1.       A “go/no go” decision about travel based on attitude to risk and safety

2.       Economic conditions in the source market

3.       Ease and cost of access to the destination (which includes the impact of exchange rate)

4.       Consumer intent (as opposed to awareness) to visit, which is based on perception of the opportunity in the context of alternative destinations. That perception can be influenced by accumulated thoughts and ideas, as well as specific promotions/campaigns.

 In the international context, measurement should at least attempt to control the variables or pursue more complex multivariate analysis. Even then, it is difficult to assess the difference between actual visits at a point in time and subsequent visitation, which may have been influenced by the impressions made previously.

 At a domestic level, where decisions are between staying home or travelling overseas, interstate or intrastate, measurement is less complex. At an event level, factors determining attendance can be measured with more accuracy. Greater complexity arises where measurement is required of the impact of the event on the brand and perception of the destination that is hosting the event. 

 What are the solutions? It is important to have clear objectives for any marketing activity and to align measurement to them. If the objectives are around brand building, analysis needs to include holistic impressions and open ended questioning, and can include the impact of promotion of the destination and of events on the brand. Measurement of marketing activity should be systematic and rigorous, searching for cause and effect at points of decision making. Web based marketing enables a more direct and sophisticated analysis based on web metrics. It is time for the tourism industry to adopt a greater level of professionalism and degree of rigour to measuring the impact of the Government funds applied to the sector – funds which cannot hope to be guaranteed into the future.

a real gem from mclaren vale

October 4, 2010  |  wine review  |  No Comments

After tasting this wine with a sesame beef stir-fry, I couldn’t wait to post the review and get my subscribers out purchasing for Christmas. The wine in question is the 2008 Gemtree Uncut Shiraz from McLaren Vale. It is an absolute pearler, a wonderful example of fine Australian Shiraz.

McLaren Vale has been famous for Australian Shiraz for 150 years and is one of Australia’s oldest wine growing regions. It lies only 30 minutes from Adelaide and is a stunningly beautiful area to visit. If you like a full favoured, oaked peachy chardonnay, there are plenty of examples, but the Shiraz alternatives through the Vale are magnificent.

Gemtree Vineyards is owned and run by third generation grapegrowers, the Buttery Family. The family is dedicated to producing iconic wines of the highest quality from their McLaren Vale vineyards which since 2008 have been farmed 100% biodynamically.

The 2008 Gemtree Uncut Shiraz, comes from a great vintage in McLaren Vale. It sells for between $22 and $26 in retail outlets, but qualifies for my $15 to $20 price bracket on two counts. Refreshingly, here is one cellar door that is cheaper than the big discounters. It’s available at $19 to Gemtree 1851 club members (and $20 by the dozen at Kemeny’s).

My tasting notes follow:

“Succulent sweet fruit on the nose, with blueberries and sweet vanilla overtones with complex cloves and pepper. A magnificent, multilayered wine with savoury oak and generous fruit with hints of violets. It’s beautifully balanced for a young wine but will cellar well for many years. I like the length and seamless finish in this 14.5% gem. 94/100″

So, line up and get a case for Christmas. In fact buy three cases and try one every month for three years! What a marvellous investment.