Des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing en­cour­aged for tourism

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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