THERE has been much discussion on the Melbourne Business School Port Revitalisation project.
Irrespective of the specifics of the report, it has provided a catalyst for discussion and reassessment for our business community.
We now have a window of opportunity, particularly with fresh local and state agendas creating a new political environment, to review what are we doing really well and want to keep doing, what is no longer relevant and what new things do we need to do to carry us forward to where we want to be in the long term.
I firmly believe we are already doing many things well but there are some areas, pointed out in the report, that are falling through the cracks.
These issues may well not be part of the natural role of our tourism body or even our Chamber of Commerce.
As a first step, we need to agree on a clear overarching vision for our community of where and what we want to be in the long term.
Having a "shared vision" and speaking with "one voice" was the overriding message from the report.
To do this we must work together towards something we can all believe in with passion.
We may not be in agreement yet on exactly how to achieve these big picture goals, but we can quickly kickstart the process with some early wins addressing some of the "low hanging fruit" such as frequently cited bugbears - the eyesore of the metal stairs on the point above the beach, the lack of or inappropriate signage in various parts of town, and achieving a cohesive simple to use web presence for our destination are just a few examples.
Finally, a key issue in the report identifies the challenge of "massification".
Increasing supply of accommodation, tours or retail without keeping the iconic, eclectic character of Port is self-destructive to everything we need to flourish as a town.
It degrades our image, our lifestyle and ultimately our economy.
By contrast, when we create great businesses that are empathetic with the character of Port and help share our fabulous tropical lifestyle with more people, we add to the virtuous cycle of enhancing our image, our reputation and the experience we give to our guests.
More importantly and ultimately, it does the same for us as residents of this special place.
The antidote to massification is to celebrate successes and the inherent character and lifestyle we love in Port.
To the newly launched QT - I salute you.
You have done a fabulous job and I hope the energy you have brought is infectious to other Port businesses.