Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

five impressive tourism premiers

In the post Sydney Olympics era I had the chance to work with, and observe, a series of State Premiers with varying degrees of interest in the tourism industry. While most of them understood the economic engine that tourism can be, there were five who stood out.

The late Jim Bacon personally took on the tourism portfolio as Premier and achieved new sea and air access under his guidance. It underpinned a boom in the State’s tourism growth. Unlike subsequent leaders who failed to see the myth of jobs growth from extractive industries, Jim fully understood the inexorable trend towards the service and knowledge economy.

Building on the Kennett legacy in Victoria of well integrated infrastructure and tourism, Steve Bracks and then John Brumby took the integrated events, tourism and infrastructure strategy to a new level. Both Premiers knew the industry and elevated it within their cabinets. For a decade, from 2001 to 2010, Melbourne “ate Sydney’s lunch”.  It also coincided with leadership in NSW that took a “do little” approach to attracting visitors. Little wonder that Cairns and Melbourne took market share from Sydney for inbound arrivals in this period.

Steve and John fostered Victoria’s key advantage – co-operation. Co-operation between public and private sector and within Government, where seamless events and tourism policy was elevated to an appropriate level – and where Departments worked together to fulfil a vision.

In Queensland, a State where tourism represents an even bigger slice of the economy, Peter Beattie also elevated its relative importance. Gaining aviation access, creating conference infrastructure, promoting Queensland internationally and domestically, the job was well done. Peter led the charge. I can still see him calling, and then steering, a meeting of industry leaders, when Ansett fell out of the sky in September 2001.

My final nominee is Barry O’Farrell. Barry had watched the neglect in NSW for years in opposition and was determined to make a difference. He had only really started the journey of integrated infrastructure, events and promotion when he resigned recently. I saw the manifestation of his beliefs at a Tourism and Transport Forum recently where he spoke to 100 industry leaders for 20 minutes without referring to a note.

He spoke with deep knowledge about key infrastructure developments in Sydney and the respect he had for the Victorian model. His conversational address acknowledged at least a dozen people in the room, reflecting an engaged Premier. Let’s hope the momentum continues under the leadership of Mike Baird.

I have no doubt that John Olsen (who was a key driver in G’Day LA), Mike Wran and Geoff Gallop were all effective tourism industry supporters, but for the five men I have acknowledged, it was a fundamental platform of their leadership and the prosperity of their States.

framing a vision for the tarkine

framing a vision for the tarkine

Last year the battles were about logging native timber in the Tarkine, right now it’s about mining. On the one hand there is the economic growth argument about extracting valuable minerals, and on the other the recognition of the significance of the ecosystem. Finding sensible solutions must start with an understanding of the place and the issues, and finish with a spirit of compromise, because there are no right answers in these debates.

There’s no doubt that the Tarkine is one of the world’s great wild places. It is a landscape of such breathtaking beauty that it is impossible not to love it. It is an expansive 447,000 hectare wilderness area which contains remarkable natural and cultural values, including one of the world’s most significant remaining tracts of temperate rainforest.

 The Tarkine is now generally recognised as that part of north west Tasmania bounded by the Arthur River and its tributaries to the north, the Pieman River to the south, the Murchison Highway to the east and the Southern Ocean to the west. Most of the land is either managed by Forestry Tasmania or the Parks and Wildlife Service. Much of the Tarkine is listed on the Register of the National Estate and there are a number of reserves that provide the Tarkine with some level of conservation protection.  

The Cradle Coast Authority Master Plan for the Tarkine describes it as, “a place of sustenance for its inhabitants, a breathtaking, fragile wilderness for those in search of renewal, a robust landscape rich in minerals and forest resources, and a playground for the communities that surround it”. 

The Tarkine is Australia’s most significant tract of rainforest wilderness and Tasmania’s largest unprotected wilderness area. It is described by the Australian Heritage Commission as “one of the world’s great archeological regions” with aboriginal middens, artefacts and rock carvings that predate the pyramids. 

There’s been much debate and emotion about land use priorities in the area – for tourism access, primary production, logging and mining. Conservationists have sought to have the Tarkine classified under the world heritage listing. The Forests Agreement of September 2011 has brought timber industry and conservationists closer, although many issues remained unresolved. Tasmania, now facing reductions in contribution from commercial timber, is increasingly looking to the resources sector for economic growth.

How do we, as stewards of this 60 million year old wilderness, make sensible decisions on its future at any point in time? We can rest assured that it will involve compromise from all sides. As a plan is developed for the Tarkine, some guiding principles are needed, and these might be a good start:

  1. Manage the Tarkine for multiple end use according to the sensitivity and significance of particular areas, rather than lock it up
  2. Special parts of the Tarkine, notably the primary rainforest, should be totally protected from logging, mining and recreational vehicles (these areas may be the focus of world heritage)
  3. Controlled tourism access that leaves no footprint should be encouraged
  4. Community involvement in decision making is essential

 Such guidelines need fleshing out and adding to. They may well end up allowing a flourishing adventure tourism industry based on walking, some selective logging for value added timber in agreed areas and mining with appropriate rehabilitation, in areas other than primary rainforest. Honey production and agriculture in existing cleared areas would sit comfortably under these guidelines.

 They would not, however, allow clear felling of native timber in the region, nor allow projects such as the proposed open cut tin and tungsten mine in primary rainforest at Mount Lindsay by Venture Minerals. That particular proposal, for a 3.5km x 3km 200 metre deep mine, is not within the scope of these guidelines. It’s also the sort of project that depends on the price of tin to be high for its sustainability.

 If the right information is gathered and shared, and if there is willingness to compromise, worthwhile outcomes can flow. They will only be forged by people working together. As the old African proverb goes:

“if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.

We also need to remember that we are transitory human beings making decisions in a microsecond of time, in the context of what has gone before us.

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.