IGOT to be a tourist last weekend. A girlfriend arrived from Melbourne along with a fully laden planeload of logo- wearing V8 fans, and we took in a few sights.
Going up the Hill was mandatory, but I saw it through a slightly different viewpoint from staggering up the goat track. Instead, we drove to the summit, did laps until we could score a park, before joining the crowds taking photos of the V8 track and other vantage points.
We got back into our car and headed down, with me thinking, “There’s not a lot there to enhance the tourist experience”. Make that, “There’s NOTHING there to enhance the tourist experience”.
So many people, so many opportunities going begging.
Tired? There’s a couple of benches to sit on, too low to see the view. Thirsty? There’s a tap. How about a T- shirt with, “I climbed Castle Hill’? Or a bumper sticker? Stubby holders? Caps? Come on council, create some revenue!
Just down from the summit is the cleared area of the old Panorama House site that’s been empty for close to a decade. Opposite is another cleared area, also empty, which isn’t surprising when you consider the debacle of trying to get lights installed on the hill. Or slides at the Rockpool. Or a central bus terminal. Or a convenient ferry terminal.
How about subsidising a coffee or ice cream van on the area opposite the ex- Panorama House?
How about a few little tables and chairs? To ease the parking issues, how about a council- run shuttle bus taking people up and back from somewhere like the Strand, or the Botanic Gardens, every 30 minutes or so?
There are big plans afoot for Townsville; the new waterfront precinct, bars, restaurants, the stadium; but now is the time to abolish the red tape and convoluted processes required to establish tourist- friendly amenities and activities, and actively encourage people with incentives rather than restrictions to set up scooter hire, pop- up souvenir caravans, food trucks, coffee carts, river tours, watersports, and boat and snorkelling tours around Magnetic Island.
All we hear about are proposed bars and cafes, but what about a beachy lagoon like at Brisbane’s Southbank?
Live music would be great, but good luck with that, the recent city concert by King Social and 360 was cancelled due to our usual noise- phobic complainant; how long until the constricting liquor licensing body allows our city to progress?
The council needs to assist growth by only charging a token cost for tourism- related permits, and minimising red- tape for operators in areas not serviced by cafes.
Townsville Enterprise needs to be enterprising; that we still don’t have a permanent, large- scale water park is embarrassing. Our city is a no- brainer for activity- based ventures; our weather makes us a near- year- round proposition, yet we don’t cater to the 20- 30 something travellers between their rafting and bungee adventures other than providing a Strand parking spot so they can dry their laundry.
Where’s the city skate park? Where are the water slides, the live music? What do gen X and Y do for fun once they get here, catch up on sleep? We need active tourism; and leaders with a vision. Until then, it’s all just a view.
DREAMING: Townsville is crying out for a waterpark and activities to keep tourists and families entertained.