Tourism growth is the future

Pilbara News - - Opinion - Peter Long

Last week I at­tended the Aus­tralian Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Con­fer­ence, the pur­pose of which is to help towns out­side the State cap­i­tals grow and pros­per.

Re­gional towns and cities com­prise a third of the Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion, some eight mil­lion peo­ple, and pro­duce the great ma­jor­ity of our ex­port in­come.

Re­gional towns are vi­tal to our econ­omy and also take the pres­sure off the big cities, where traf­fic, pol­lu­tion and ever-spread­ing ur­ban ar­eas are de­stroy­ing both the qual­ity of life and the best agri­cul­tural land in the coun­try.

How­ever, for sev­eral decades now there has been a steady loss of pop­u­la­tion from the re­gions.

Ideas put for­ward at the con­fer­ence in­cluded us­ing the in­ter­net and the dig­i­tal econ­omy to over­come the tyranny of dis­tance. Tech­nol­ogy busi­nesses can be es­tab­lished any­where and re­gional cen­tres avoid the pres­sures of con­ges­tion and can pro­vide the green life­style epit­o­mised by Sil­i­con Val­ley. Tourism is an­other op­por­tu­nity. Ex­pe­ri­en­tial tourism — get­ting out there into the en­vi­ron­ment for new chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ences which show a re­gion’s unique char­ac­ter­is­tics, is what peo­ple now de­mand.

There is am­ple ev­i­dence of the role lo­cal govern­ment can pro­vide in de­vel­op­ing tourism and other new busi­nesses. It’s re­sources and lo­cal knowl­edge are sub­stan­tial and this may be a good way to get a new sec­tor of the lo­cal econ­omy go­ing.

We are do­ing what we can in this re­gard at the City of Kar­ratha and have es­tab­lished an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment po­si­tion within the or­gan­i­sa­tion and an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment group out­side coun­cil to as­sist.

All ideas are welcome.

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