While 2021 will no doubt bring its challenges, we’d like to try to end 2020 on an optimistic note by looking at the developments on the horizon for tourism in this region. Here are our Top 5:
1. Jetstar flights from Melbourne
It is great news that we are able to welcome back visitors from Victoria and New South Wales, which make up more than 60% of our region’s interstate visitation. As you will know, one of the barriers for the interstate market has been the relative time and cost of travelling here, and these direct flights will help us attract more of these high yielding visitors which stay longer, spend more and are more likely to travel outside of peak periods than their intrastate counterparts.
In the short term we are hopeful that the flights will provide an uptick in visitation in Autumn just as the region’s peak period ends. Beyond this, the service is expected to bring more than 60,000 visitors to the Margaret River region over the next three years and contribute more than $40 million to the WA economy. In the longer term, if the route proves to be successful, this could support future business cases aimed at attracting direct flights from other destinations, such as Sydney and Singapore.
2. New regional experiences
MRBTA member businesses have been hard at work developing new visitor experiences and our Marketing team has aimed to capture some of these on margaretriver.com with an article listing 14 Incredible New Experiences in the Margaret River Region.
There is more to come before the year is out – at the end of December Swings Taphouse will reopen their newly revamped venue on Margaret River’s main street, and Aravina Estate will mark its venture into craft brewing with the opening of their new onsite taphouse.
As we head into 2021 we won’t have long to wait before we can visit the new Vasse Felix Idée Fixe Blanc de Blancs house located in the south of Margaret River. Elsewhere, Bettenay’s Margaret River Nougat will reveal an expanded interpretive centre, and Bina Maya is planning an exciting extension to its Aboriginal art gallery to provide an all-inclusive cultural tourism experience.
Nullarbor Traveller will be releasing it’s Yoga & Wellness Glamping Adventure Tour earlier in the year, which is a one of a kind experience for this region.
The region’s renowned event calendar is also set to return full steam in 2021, including a brand new wine event led by the Margaret River Wine Association – more details on this to follow.
3. ‘Smarter, Kinder, Safer’ travel
One of the positive impacts of the Covid-19 crisis looks to be the effect it has had on how consumers are looking to holiday as restrictions around leisure travel continue to ease.
- Luxury Escapes Travel 2021 report finds that 88% of Australians plan on taking a domestic trip in 2021, and expects that travel budgets will increase as Australians seek out long-haul experiences at home, with 50% of travellers saying that they miss bucket list experiences.
- Booking.com via their ‘Future of Travel 2020‘ report has described a move towards ‘smarter, kinder, safer‘ travel, with consumers placing increasing value on things like sustainable travel, safety and domestic travel.
- Tourism Australia in their last webinar for the year also placed safety and sustainability at the top of the agenda. It highlighted the growing trend for travellers to seek out natural environments and sparsely populated destinations as a result of Covid. MD Phillipa Harrison reflected on the fact that Australia’s perception as a sparsely populated and isolated destination is now working to attract visitors, rather than deter them as it may have done previously.
As a nature-based, relatively isolated and premium destination, the Margaret River Region is well-placed to benefit from all of these emerging trends. When it comes to developing the region’s sustainable and nature-based tourism offering, MRBTA will continue working to support projects including Our Unbeaten Tracks, Karri Bowl and Eco Destination Certification for the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.
4. New and improved regional brand
In 2021 as a region we will move on from the current ‘Your Margaret River Region’ brand with its thumbprint-based logo, and towards new branding which will help to mark the place of the Margaret River Region as one of the best tourism destinations in the world.
The project has two main parts – the brand narrative and positioning (the way the region is talked about), and brand design (logos, look and feel). As well of defining both of these for the region as a whole, unique identities are also being developed for the regional anchor points of Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta. This will help encourage deeper dispersal of visitors throughout the region and will give repeat visitors renewed incentive to visit parts of the region they have not yet been to.
We look forward to sharing all of the details with you early in 2021. Read more about the regional brand redevelopment
5. New destination website
The much-anticipated updated version of the destination website will launch early in 2021. It will ensure that margaretriver.com is able to retain its position as an industry-leading website, and as the number one authority for travel advice and inspiration on the Margaret River Region. The website will have a more contemporary design; it will perform faster, and, importantly, member information will be easier to find.
Along with the engagement metrics like ‘pages per visit’ and ’session time’, the amount of traffic to member listing pages will be seen as a top KPI for the new website. It will likely be our number one ‘conversion’ metric alongside newsletter sign-ups and engagement with the Visitor Servicing team.
Key features include:
- Mobile-first design with contemporary look and feel
- Simplified menu structure and content hierarchy (the way information is organised)
- Related/recommended content links throughout the site to encourage visitors to remain on the site longer and view more product listings
- Improved tagging and categorising of information to ensure that information on member businesses and other regional points of interest are more easily found.
MRBTA Christmas Opening Hours
MRBTA Central Reservations; Busselton, Dunsborough & Margaret River Visitor Centres
Open every day except Christmas Day
Telephone: (08) 9780 5911
Open as usual during office hours (closed weekends and public holidays)
Telephone: (08) 9780 5959
MRBTA CEOs & Marketing team
Please contact Membership team
MRBTA Caves, Lighthouses, Forest Adventures South West
Open every day except Christmas Day
Telephone: (08) 9780 5911