Building rural tourism from the bottom-up

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For economic and social sustainability reasons we need to rethink the way tourism is developed in Australia. The following summary points reflect my argument that we need to build truism from the bottom up, empower local communities to use tourism to conserve rural Australia’s culture (full paper attached below). Tourism practitioners now have the opportunity of contributing to the Tourism Expenditure Taskforce. This gives everyone the time to reflect on what tourism is for and what good it can do rural Australia.

I am lobbying government and NGO to fostering better tourism in the place where it is consumed, the communities. Encouraging government to see that by increasing tourism expenditure in local communities where better linkage is established can build an economically more sustainable tourism sector and thereby conserve rural culture both Aboriginal and non-Indigenous.

Summary Key Points:

  • Rural Tourism is in decline, current top down policies have yet to make sufficient impact to build up products/services that will provide competitive visitor experiences
  • Top down management of tourism currently does not take into account the limited resources and capacity of those who produce tourism in Rural NSW
  • Tourists visit other people’s communities and consume their facilities and their infrastructure, yet tourism is often managed in a silo and rarely integrated into destination planning and community life
  • Tourism’s strength is that it can enhance the well being of communities by attracting visitor expenditure directly to the destination and through its extended economic benefits by linkage. This can only be forged at a local level
  • For a destination to be competitive it must identify its Local Distinctiveness and unite its products/services with a clear motivating proposition. The local identity involves the wider community and the physical geography. Geopolitical boundaries restrict Local Distinctiveness
  • The principle of hospitality, a core component to tourism, must include not only tourism businesses but also the wider community and the public hospitality of the destination
  • Only profitable tourism businesses can be productive, marketing must focus on delivering yield rather than volume
  • Economically sustainable tourism must be built from the bottom up and have an equal partnership between those who make the tourism product/service, protected areas that provide the recreational attractions, community and local/state government who provide facilities, working in synergy
Rural NSW needs a bottom up strategy.pdf386.1 KB