Agritourism was well and truly on the radar of the ARTN, recognising the potential of this sector to grow regional tourism, and taking a holistic view of the sector to include linkages with on and off farm activities, food, produce and wine, nature and ecotourism connections. Presentations recognised the challenges associated with collaboration between farming (the main focus of hosts) with tourism requirements and visitor expectations of high quality experiences and the supporting factors that need to be in place. Looking at agricultural landscapes as visitor experiences is a fantastic opportunity to value add and generate expenditure for regional destinations.
Another theme that resonated was a reminder that we need to get the basics in place – success in tourism comes from developing high quality products, supported by solid business practices and marketing. Presentations from Tara Wells at Sydney Coast Walks, Damian Robinson from Turalla Truffles and Bradley Spalding from Wild Brumby Schnapps highlighted some common themes: a business owner’s passion for their product, and commitment to authentic experiences that are fun and enriching for the visitor and feature generous hospitality are also keys to success.
And thirdly, cruise news was all about growth – nothing new there. It is forecast that 2 million Australians will take a cruise by 2020. If you are in striking distance of a port, you need to be thinking about tailoring your product to that market, but don’t make the mistake of thinking of the cruise market as a generic one. Cruise is a nuanced market and cruise passengers are not a homogenous bunch; their most common attribute is just that they don’t want to miss the boat, and by that of course we mean ship! For much of regional Australia, by definition often a long way from metropolitan centres and port infrastructure, cruise continues to present a challenge, and it’s one destinations will need to meet head on. Contact us for a first step in checking your destination’s capacity to face this challenge.