Destination marketing encouraged for tourism
A tourism development plan has been abandoned by Baw Baw Shire in favour of destination branding that consultants suggest should focus on Walhalla and Noojee.
In a major shake-up of tourism, a consultant has recommended council dump its current plan and adopt a specialist approach to destination marketing.
Walhalla and Noojee were described as the heroes and “primary tourist destinations” of Baw Baw Shire.
Council employed consultant Bill Fox and Associates, at a cost of $10,000, to review the Visit Baw Baw campaign and destination branding strategy.
The review recommended council develop Destination Action Plans for Walhalla, Noojee and Yarragon.
“The Baw Baw Shire has a number of very exciting tourism opportunities to further develop and promote to nearby markets in Melbourne and Central Gippsland.
“Walhalla and Noojee are the hero experiences and, with further development, will be significant economic generators for the broader Gippsland region.
“The existing products and experiences throughout the Baw Baw municipality will continue to develop and create their respective points of difference whether that be in the arts, food and wine, agri-tourism or adventure tourism,” the report said.
Relevant actions in the current tourism development plan will be incorporated into a new economic development strategy.
The final report presented to council considered the success of the Visit Baw Baw marketing program in generating brand recognition and exposure, as well as generating traffic to the Visit Baw Baw website.
The review also considered success of the program in regard to funding invested by council.
The consultant made a number of key recommendations including:
A better alignment of the Baw Baw Shire marketing program with Destination Gippsland;
A need to focus on the key market offering rather than a municipal wide approach with a focus on Walhalla, Noojee and Yarragon;
A review and update of the Visit Baw Baw website;
Preparation of a new tourism development plan; and,
Development of Destination Action Plans for Noojee, Walhalla and Yarragon.
Council also sought comment from its business advisory board who supported development of destination action plans.
The BAB suggested when destination plans are developed, the regions be called Walhalla and surrounds, Noojee and surrounds and Yarragon and surrounds.
Cr Peter Kostos said tourism had always been on council’s agenda.
He said council had a consultant come in and provided a report on a tourism strategy.
He said the consultant come up with some “very good recommendations on how we can go forward.”
“I think this will be a good result for the shire and tourism,” he said.
Cr Danny Goss said this was an extensive review.
“Tourism hasn’t been well handled in this shire for some time,” he said.
Cr Goss said there were a number of recommendations in the report relating to marketing, branding and expenses.
“This is an opinion of a consultant, that’s what he was paid for and he does agree with dumping the current plan,” he said.
Cr Goss said there were opportunities for areas to promote themselves.
“It’s time to embrace tourism and embrace the report,” he said
Cr Michael Leaney declared a conflict of interest.