According to the Australian Regional Tourism Network, destination management is “an ongoing process in which tourism, industry, government and community leaders plan for the future and manage a destination.” In this case, the destination would be the Fleurieu Coast region. It is based on the principle that while no two regions are the same, the underlying processes used to develop them are transferable. Fleurieu Coast could benefit from using processes adopted in other high profile regions.
Mr Skull invited those present to begin the process by helping to identify the things needed to enhance the local tourism experience. A number of suggestions were offered including:
- Increasing positive marketing of the area
- Obtaining better feedback from visitors
- Developing bike paths between towns & introduce bike hire facilities
- Promoting greater cooperation between local businesses
- Developing a coastal cinema facility
- Re-establishing a community bus service
- Enhancing the entry points to the district (eg Myponga, Delamere)
- Continuing to focus on raising customer service standards
- Developing a winter festival including a joint project with KI to celebrate the festival with twin bonfires across Backstairs Passage
- Improving the sharing of information about local businesses
- Improving public infrastructure in key locations eg street lighting, foreshore public toilets, car parking
The group discussed many issues in the short time available but it was well recognised that this was just the beginning of a much bigger process. Many other ideas have been raised in other places that are equally worthy of consideration (eg restoring the length of Normanville Jetty, establishing free wi-fi zones in each town etc) and many people in the community are likely to be keen to contribute.
Mr Skull said Council can help to build better connections between businesses. He also suggested the development of dump sites for RVs by Council will help increase visitation to the area and the proposed Interpretive Centre for the Leafy Sea Dragon should, if implemented, be a local attraction. According to Mr Skull, the Interpretive Centre concept is linked to the proposed re-development of the Normanville Surf Life Saving Clubrooms.
The discussion did not consider who should pay for such new initiatives. This is an important consideration for Council which recently saw the need to increase rates well above CPI to fund new initiatives. While many of the ideas raised are affordable to implement, some will have important implications for public spending.
For example, this year, as part of its new initiatives, Council is spending $78,000 on entry signage to local towns and while Council has yet to release specific details of the proposed Surf Club project, it is known to have committed funding of $500,000.
An important part of the Destination Management planning process will be an assessment of the benefits and costs of each proposal and consideration of whether it is the responsibility of the private or public sector. As the lead local provider in this space, Council needs to consider when it may be appropriate to take a back seat and let private enterprise step forward.
At the invitation of Council, the Fleurieu West Business Association (FWBA) is leading a small group of business operators in a separate process to engage with the local business community on how to prepare for a potential increase in Chinese tourists in 2-3 years. Fleurieu West Connect asked Mr Skull how the Destination Management process would link with that being undertaken by FWBA. Mr Skull suggested the outputs from the destination plan process would be shared with the FWBA Working Group to ensure the processes are complimentary. Members of FWBA were in attendance at the meeting.
Council has previously proposed other plans that had failed to materialise (eg a Structure Plan for Yankalilla, Normanville & Carrickalinga , a plan for the Normanville foreshore). Fleurieu West Connect also asked who would ensure the success of the planning process? Mr Skull said that Council would take ultimate responsibility for development of the Destination Plan. The plan falls within the economic development and tourism area and would become the responsibility of the relevant Leader, Amber Nancarrow.
The budget for Economic Development & Tourism received a boost this year as part of a package of new projects approved by Council. The tasks and timelines for the Destination Management plan have yet to be revealed.
Join the discussion! Contribute your ideas for how local tourism may be increased or enhanced in our area by clicking here!
Photo: Coastal seating at Carrickalinga (taken by P Butler)