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Business forum held on Fleurieu Coast tourism

Published Wednesday, 21st October 2015, 11:30AM
Article by Rob Butler
Article/Photo: Peter Butler

New ideas to boost tourism on the Fleurieu Coast and improve the local industry were identified by business representatives at a forum held recently at Yankalilla. Organised by the Fleurieu West Business Association, the evening also featured presentations from Ms Miranda Lang, SA Tourism and Ms Amber Nancarrow District Council of Yankalilla.

Those in attendance were invited to form four discussion groups:
1. Driving demand. Getting the right message to the right markets
2. Working better together. Fostering a stronger more collaborative industry
3. Using events to drive visitation. Build on existing events and look for new opportunities that are consistent with our brand.
4. Providing a supportive environment. Making it easier to do business and ensuring that foundation for growth are laid.

The four categories selected form part of the ‘destination management’ process that the Yankalilla Council is embarking on with SA Tourism.

Group discussions were inclusive and positive. A common interest emerged for businesses to cooperate and help grow the local tourism industry. While a some businesses may identify themselves as heavily focussed on tourism, many local businesses may not but still they play an important front-line role. The important contribution made by community volunteers was also identified. The need to better connect with local businesses and community groups in order to develop the local industry was recognised.

The small group discussions gave rise to many ideas including;
• better marketing of the story behind individual businesses,
• identifying opportunities to link with neighbouring areas,
• improving understanding of other people’s businesses to enable cross-promotion;
• better signage,
• nature-based, coastal & cultural events may be developed into products to promote visitation all year round,
• developing an information pack for new businesses,
• attracting younger volunteers to the Visitor Information Centre.

Around 25 local businesses were involved in the forum held at the Yankalilla Football Club. The tourism presentations were given at the beginning of the forum to set the scene.

Ms Lang explained that SA Tourism aimed to achieve the State target of a tourism industry worth $8 billion by 2020. The main focus of her work was destination management and she was working closely with officers at District Council level.

According to Ms Lang, the main tourism market for the Fleurieu Peninsula is domestic travellers. Around 3 million people visit the Fleurieu Peninsula each year and stay an average of 3 nights. By comparison, the Yankalilla Local Government area receives around 300,000 visitors or 10% of the total with a mean stay of 2.7 nights. Kangaroo Island receives around 200,000 visitors each year.

Ms Lang also announced that local Second Valley businesswoman Ms Jane Mitchell will be joining the Fleurieu Tourism Board.

Ms Nancarrow indicated that the Strategic Plan for the Yankalilla District had now been endorsed and the new regional branding had been released. The brand “Fleurieu Coast Made by Nature” was launched recently at the Yankalilla Show. Local businesses were now invited to apply to Council for permission to use the branding within their advertising.

Ms Nancarrow said that Council has a key role in determining and maintaining local public infrastructure and in township planning. She said Council was developing a group of people that could talk to Council on development issues.

In summing up, Business Association Chairperson Mr Desmond Ford praised the efforts of those present and indicated that the feedback obtained will be considered by the Association prior to Christmas 2015.
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