At the 2019 Australian Regional Tourism Convention in Devonport Tasmania, the Hon Senator Jonathon Duniam announced the release of The Beach, Bush and Beyond: Understanding Regional Dispersal of Australian Tourists.
This report brings together helpful insights into the work that needs to be done in order to disperse visitors outside of Australia’s metropolitan areas and into the regions. Findings highlight a lack of awareness of what is on offer in regional Australia, particularly for Chinese visitors.
The good news for LTOs (local tourism organisations) such as the MRBTA is that the report calls us to play to our strengths. As a provider of unparalleled local advice through our range of digital and face-to-face visitor services, MRBTA is ideally-placed to work on the themes outlined, including ‘Demystifying Time and Distance’ and ‘Putting the Pieces of the Journey Together’. It is very encouraging to see that MRBTA’s work on tailored itineraries is explicitly highlighted in the report as an example of best practice in this regard.
At the same time, encouraging neighbouring regions to develop joint marketing strategies and itineraries to educate visitors about what is on offer in the wider region. MRBTA’s ongoing partnership with ASW (Australia’s South West) will be crucial here, with ASW securing some considerable traction around the Perth to Esperance Great South West Edge self-drive itinerary among interstate and international markets.
Having a strong regional events strategy is highlighted as a way to encourage longer stays and foster affinity with a region. The City of Busselton and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River must be commended here, with both local governments supporting events through funding, and with the City of Busselton holding the title of Events Capital WA.
Elsewhere in the report, regional destinations located near to capital cities are seen as having an advantage, and with the Margaret River region not falling into this category, it will be all the more important to leverage the opportunities around direct flights to Busselton.