Regions and Tourism

Tourism is important. What is the potential to develop new products, services and opportunities for visitors, the industry and regions

Tourism is important. What is the potential to develop new products, services and opportunities for visitors, the industry and regions

Geotourism - A Regional Development Imperative

The serious pursuit of ecotourism in Australia was ‘kick started’ nearly 25 years ago through the establishment of Ecotourism Australia Ltd which now represents some 500 operators in Australia. Whilst the potential for geotourism, a related field of ‘nature based’ tourism was first recognised in Australia in 1996, the concept was only conceptualised locally by the convening in Western Australia of a Global Geotourism Conference in 2008, with the subsequent establishment of geotourism constituency groupings firstly by the Geological Society of Australia in 2011 and by Ecotourism Australia through the creation of the Geotourism Forum in November 2013.  

For geotourism to reach its potential, new pathways for development such as geotrails and geoparks need to be implemented, having regard to government interest in nurturing regional development and new job creation through celebrating geotourism, geological and mining heritage. The  development of a range of existing and proposed geotrail projects which offer exciting new opportunities for geotourism growth, whilst not overlooking Australia’s extensive protected areas as venues for enhancing geological and landscape interpretation and education as part of the overall ‘nature-based’ tourism mix.

Inspired by the SEGRA 2015 conference, two exciting UNESCO Global Geopark projects have now emerged under the auspices of supporting local government agencies.

The Pre-Aspiring Etheridge UNESCO Global Geopark is embraced by the Shire of Etheridge in Far North Queensland. The Undara Lava Tube System, truly unique in the world as well as other landforms in the area proposed for the Global Geopark, have resulted in a diverse range of bioregions.  Committed input from the Ewamian Aboriginal community is sure to identify sites exhibiting rich indigenous culture.

The Pre-Aspiring Warrumbungle  UNESCO Global Geopark is located within three local government areas in northwest  New South Wales. The’ Warrumbungles’ are already an internationally acclaimed tourist attraction steeped in volcanic geological history. 

Both projects are engaging with the state National Parks and Wildlife Services, other state government agencies, local townships and farming and indigenous communities. 

For further information, https://www.gsa.org.au/Public/Geotourism/Geotourism%20and%20Geotrails/Public/Geotourism/Geotourism%20and%20Geotrails.aspx?hkey=f3ee82ea-de9a-44eb-82f7-377d2d28d2ba

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Introduction to Kevin Liepins, Principal, Destination Development Solutions

G’day to you, and thanks for stopping by…

My career has been focused on tourism development and marketing. As a Tourism Development Officer I have been privileged to be an ambassador for many great destinations. Ranging from the iconic Queensland Outback to Brisbane’s Moreton Bay, the glorious Scenic Rim and in the UK from Robin Hood's Nottingham to the London Tourist Board. In a Destination Development role for Tourism Queensland I was able to engage and assist with tourism developments in the Gladstone, Central Queensland and Gold Coast regions.

Throughout my career spanning over 35 years, I have experienced some fantastic tourism products and been actively involved in the development of new events and visitor product. I have played key roles in establishing new events as diverse as a Robin Hood Pageant in Nottingham in the early 1990’s to a community run Illuminations Festival in 2014 on Brisbane’s bayside. In 2016 I developed an Outback Fiesta and a Longreach for Laughs week to link new and existing events to create an extended winter season.

I see events as a means of extending and boosting seasonal visitation and engaging with the community to promote the assets of a destination or region. I will explore this more in a future post.

I have brought my experience together as a tourism specialist offering a personalised and experienced one-on-one service to help destination and tourism operators to develop and maximise the opportunities from the predicted growth in the domestic and international markets.

Every destination and business needs a review and the tourism industry is no exception. It is difficult to take an honest assessment of any destination or tourism product when you are so closely involved. I am keen on helping destination and tourism operators to ensure they can take an inward look at their region or product. I identified the need for a Tourism Product Audit that can provide an independent review of a destination and tourism product covering:

· Information Services – Is the Visitor Information Centre in the right location?

· Promotional material – Is it needed? Does it promote the correct image?

· Digital services – Social media representation.

· Signage audit – Can the visitor find you?

· Visitor attractions – Benchmarking against current trends

· Customer service – How well does the community know your product and destination? Does it provide excellence in customer service?

· SWOT analysis – Honest review of strengths and opportunities

As a follow up to the Tourism Product Audit a review of marketing and tourism strategies can be conducted with analysis of target markets and growth opportunities providing short and long term goals. The focus is to provide the best opportunity for a tourism entity to maximise its true potential and provide excellent service. In establishing Destination Development Solutions I am able to offer an independent assessment to help to the next step.

Contact me on LinkedIn or at Destination Development Solutions. I look forward to discussing more tourism topics. Future blogs will look at the importance of events and legacy projects.

Thank you for your time.

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Recent Comments
Angus M Robinson
Kevin, I will take up you offer to make contact also through LinkedIn, otherwise very interested to learn more about the work of D... Read More
Friday, 16 June 2017 09:17
KEVIN LIEPINS
Thanks Angus for making contact and for your interesting article on geotourism. I'm working with Ken Moule at Global GBM to take ... Read More
Friday, 16 June 2017 16:03
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