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Tourism Futures Forum Hosted by Gympie Cooloola Tourism

Forum Report Compiled by Gympie Cooloola Tourism

Gympie Cooloola Tourism – your industry voice


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Introduction

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Invitations/ Program

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Daniel Gschwind

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Professor Mike Hefferan

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Rod Hillman

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Debra Howe

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Workshop

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GCT Key Focus Areas

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Government Investment and Feedback 8 Communication

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Unity and Collaboration

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Infrastructure

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Marketing and Promotion

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Industry Development

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Partnerships and Networks

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Research and Statistics

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Product Development

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Strategic Planning

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Industry Issues

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Access and Transport

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Conclusion

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Forum Outcomes – Appendix 1

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In October 2013 Gympie Cooloola Tourism hosted the first Tourism Futures Forum for the Gympie Cooloola Region bringing together high profile Queensland tourism industry identities, tourism businesses, associated service industries, business investors, government, associations, professionals, leaders, tourism bodies, universities and more. The objective of the forum was two-fold. It was to provide clarity on current tourism structures, various industry body roles, current tourism information, establish tourism networks and recognition of the tourism industry in this region. Secondly, and importantly, it was to provide a forum to initiate conversations about tourism matters and encourage a collective industry approach to tourism in Gympie Cooloola. It has been identified for some time that the local tourism industry would benefit from working together collectively for the future of the local tourism industry. These objectives were achieved by bringing three highly esteemed and valuable speakers to the Gympie Cooloola Region and providing an opportunity for tourism operators, associated businesses and organisations to meet and workshop identified issues together. Daniel Gschwind, CEO of Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), Rod Hillman, CEO of Eco Tourism Australia and Professor Mike Hefferan from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) addressed the forum on various topics. Forum facilitator, Debra Howe, who has extensive background in Queensland Tourism Industry, was the MC and facilitated the workshop sessions. Having such highly acclaimed tourism and business leaders address the GCT Tourism Futures Forum was a significant benefit to this region’s tourism industry. Gympie Cooloola Tourism’s proactive and ongoing involvement with Queensland Tourism Industry networks and participation in the recent DestinationQ forum allowed us to utilise these networks and bring valuable industry representatives to the Gympie Cooloola region. The theme that emerged from the forum was the importance of collaboration to the success of the tourism industry at all levels; this theme was endorsed by all speakers and workshop feedback and one that GCT continues to promote. We trust that this is the first of many ‘conversations’ held by the tourism industry locally and are pleased to have been a catalyst to highlighting the need for a collaborative approach and bringing industry representatives together. Jan Watt Chairman, Gympie Cooloola Tourism

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

INDEX

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Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report


Daniel Gschwind is the Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Tourism Industry Council QTIC, which is Queensland’s peak tourism industry body with members across all regions and tourism sectors. In his role as Chief Executive Officer, Daniel is the face and voice of QTIC to represent the Queensland tourism industry at all levels across the sector. Daniel’s additional responsibilities and representation across the industry include:  Director - National Tourism Alliance  Director - Reef and Rainforest Research Centre  Member - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority  Adjunct Professor, School of Tourism at the University of Queensland  Honorary Consul of Switzerland for Queensland, Australia  Vice Patron - Surf Life Saving Queensland  Ambassador - Queensland Museum Foundation  QTIC Representative - Tourism Research Advisory Board  QTIC Representative - Tourism Forecasting Committee  QTIC Representative - Queensland Government’s Skills & Training Taskforce Daniel holds an honours degree in economics from the University of Queensland and has worked as a senior economist with Queensland Treasury

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM FUTURES FORUM Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) is "The Voice of Tourism". QTIC speaks up for the industry's collective interests in all relevant policy areas. In close consultation with members and industry partners, QTIC prepares and presents submissions on behalf of the industry. These submissions cover a broad range of issues such as business regulation, skills development, award modernisation and environmental issues (including marine biodiversity, water management and climate change). QTIC continues to generate attention for the Queensland tourism industry and ensures the sector continues to maintain a strong, unified voice. QTIC’s representation on relevant boards, councils and committees is vital to ensure a consistent and proactive industry perspective is presented at a strategic as well as operational level. QTIC played an integral role in the 2013 DestinationQ Forum which was held on the Gold Coast, 27 and 28 August 2013. Delegates reflected on the results of the 12 month key action plan and considered a long-term agenda for the industry. QTIC signed a renewed partnership agreement with the Queensland Government to affirm our commitment to Queensland's tourism industry. Prior the the 2012 Queensland state elections, QTIC released a major strategic document, "Game Changing Priorities for the Future of Tourism in Queensland: A path towards regaining Queensland's status as the leading tourism state". The priorities were identified and developed in close consultation with industry, Regional Tourism Organisations, sectoral associations and other stakeholders. The document forms the basis for QTIC's engagement with the new state government on its tourism policies and priorities.

Topic: Opportunities – DestinationQ and QTIC partnership - QTIC’s role and the opportunities for development and innovation resulting from the partnership agreement with the State Government. DestinationQ is a partnership agreement between the Queensland Government and the state's tourism industry (represented by Queensland Tourism Industry Council) which recognises tourism as one of the four pillars of the economy. The key elements of DestinationQ are:

    

Ambition – setting a growth target for the industry to double overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020. Leadership – focusing whole-of-government support for tourism and events as one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy. Partnership – developing a strong partnership with industry, driving enhanced and collaborative marketing and development efforts, and a focus on events for Queensland. Investment – attracting new investment in tourism product and new aviation routes to Queensland, and reducing the red-tape burden on tourism operators. Accountability – assigning roles and responsibilities, tracking progress and reporting on outcomes at an annual forum of industry stakeholders.

Jann Tuxford-Patterson (GCT Director) with Daniel Gschwind (QTIC) (R) Rod Hillman and Professor Mike Hefferan

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

SPEAKERS

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SPEAKERS

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM FUTURES FORUM Professor Mike Hefferan is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) and Professor of Property and Development of the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology. Topic: Professor Hefferan’s address provided a realistic assessment of the economy at a wider and regional sector, and what we might reasonably expect over the next few years. Post GFC it might seem that everything is different – and a lot is, but some things stay the same.

Rod Hillman is CEO of Eco Tourism Australia and is a pioneer of the adventure and ecotourism industry in this country. He has seen the industry from all sides and played an important part in the development of ecotourism, from its formative years through to the substantial industry it is today. Topic: Rod spoke about the relevance and significance of Eco Tourism to the industry and this region, opportunities for growth and why industry operators should become Eco-accredited through Eco Tourism Australia programs.

Debra Howe has worked in local government for over 16 years and in the private sector for 21 years, much of which was within economic, tourism and regional development. In 2011, Debra relocated from Queensland to Melbourne. Debra is currently Manager City Economy and Places, City of Moreland in Melbourne responsible for economic and tourism development, place management and major project and investment attraction. Debra is Vice-President of Mainstreet Australia, Board Member of Performing Arts Moreland and NORTH Link (regional economic development) and is an Alternate Board Member for Inner North Group Training and Apprentices Plus. Debra has held senior management positions within Toowoomba Regional Council, Tourism Queensland and Brisbane City Council. Debra was a Board Member (for three years) and President (for two years) of Toowoomba, Golden West & South Burnett Regional Tourism Association and was instrumental in driving the merger of it with Southern Downs and Granite Belt Regional Tourism to establish the Southern Queensland Country Tourism. In September 2010, Debra won the 2010 Queensland Telstra Business Women’s White Pages Community and Government Award and went on to compete in the 2010 Australian Telstra Business Women’s Awards. GCT Directors Jessica Haring and Julie Worth leading engagement at the workshop session.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Debra Howe was invited to be the Forum MC and to also facilitate the Industry Workshop. A Facilitator at DestinationQ in 2013 Debra was a valuable asset to the Gympie Cooloola Forum.

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WORKSHOP

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM FUTURES FORUM

The forum workshop addressed four main areas namely: Issues, Barriers, Opportunities and Ideas and participants were asked to provide input on what they felt was impacting the tourism industry in the Gympie Cooloola Region. The workshop offered an opportunity to identify issues and barriers and consider how they can be turned into opportunities or develop new ideas to resolve them. Below is a summary matrix of generalised themed groupings and the areas under which they were raised. Some themes were seen in all four areas. Providing this report and the data back to the industry and all associated stakeholders allows those in the industry to consider this local information and potentially become involved in building and improving the industry for the benefit of their businesses and the region. Some general themes arose and are addressed in more detail in this section. Matters such as a Transit Centre have been addressed with a full report as an appendix. Attendees also provided written feedback under the four areas with the input also included in the final summary.

THEMES Marketing & Promotion Unity & Collaboration Industry Development Product Development Infrastructure Govt. Engagement Investment Support Partnerships And Linkages Accessibility Strategic Planning Sector Development Civic Pride And Local Ownership Research And Statistics Industry Issues Industry Support Communication Economic Issues

ISSUES

BARRIERS

OPORTUNITIES

IDEAS

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Gympie Cooloola Tourism has identified its role in relation to matters raised as Actioning, Advocating, Facilitating, Supporting and Achieving.

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GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM’S KEY FOCUS AREAS Gympie Cooloola Tourism focuses on four key areas as identified in the diagram opposite. 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

MARKETING & PROMOTION

PROJECTS & PARTNERS

GCT’s role in regard to the issues raised under the themes will be varied and range from advocacy and facilitation through to development or implementation. Several key projects are currently being undertaken or already achieved. Responses are provided on GCT’s actions in relation to these themes as an industry update. This also addresses the communication of information to industry and other stakeholders.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

MARKETING & PROMOTION

PROJECTS & PARTNERS

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

The themes raised in the Forum Workshop have been categorised under the relevant GCT key areas.

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Theming feedback

It was also agreed that it was a vital issue to the success of tourism in this region that those in positions of leadership at a Local Government level regarding investment in the tourism industry need to better understand and appreciate the value of tourism to the local economy. Maturity of tourism investment by Local Government and increased support to the industry was seen as imperative. The workshop highlighted that support would be best determined through active and equitable engagement with all levels of tourism industry organisations and operators in the Gympie Cooloola Region. Promotional campaigns attracting more visitors and investment in tourism product would all be supported by improved, well-considered and equitably placed investment in the Gympie Cooloola Tourism Industry.

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE The new and more concentrated role of GCT as a membership-based industry organisation represents the interest of tourism and hospitality operators and associated businesses in the region. GCT compliments the role of Council and welcomes the opportunity to work alongside Gympie Regional Council in regard to tourism in a supportive and collaborative role.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

GOVERNMENT ENGAGEMENT, INVESTMENT AND SUPPORT It was agreed by attendees that the State Government had recognised tourism’s value with the incorporation of the sector as one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy.

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COMMUNICATION

Communication to politicians and decision makers about the value of tourism was seen as vitally important and an opportunity. The negative messages and press about flooding in Gympie was highlighted as very damaging to businesses. Apathy amongst many operators in regard to participation, self-help and making an effort was raised as a major impediment to the industry and generally blame was apportioned to lack of communication. It was noted that operators needed to actively participate and respond to communication.

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT is committed to providing updates to its members on a regular basis through eCommunication focusing on tourism information and opportunities. GCT is focused on creating a hub for business and tourism information to assist with business and industry development. A focus will be on developing self-help tool kits and explanatory brochures on key areas which have been identified as issues such as industry and government contacts and the media. GCT has released a FAQ brochure which provides understanding on the different roles of tourism organisations in the Gympie Cooloola Area.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

The lack of communication of tourism information, networking between operators and awareness of research and statistics was seen as a barrier for the local tourism industry. A lack of clarity as to who was delivering what in the tourism sector was also seen by some as a frustration.

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It was felt that there was a lack of genuine Gympie/Cooloola region representation at a RTO level with concerns that the local businesses were not collectively represented at the RTO level as in previous years. Collaborative approaches between operators as well as working together with tourism organisations and council was raised as an issue and an opportunity. There were concerns that GCT should be included in the local and regional government recognised tourism structures as it was the only member based tourism organisation in the region.

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT is a Member-based Tourism Industry body for the Gympie Cooloola Region. GCT continues to offer support and work collaboratively with Gympie Regional Council (the current LTO) and has partnered with Council, Sunshine Coast Destination and Australia Tourism Data Warehouse to bring significant benefits to its members during the transition phase when Council became the LTO. To date GCT has developed partnerships with USC, CTC Employment, Service Skills Australia, EC3 Global, Caravan RV Accommodation, Ecotourism Australia, AAA Tourism and is affiliated with QTIC. It provides significant benefits to its membership through these partnerships. GCT has released the Frequently Asked Questions brochure which provides understanding on the different roles of tourism organisations in the Gympie Cooloola Area.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

UNITY AND COLLABORATION A strong theme throughout the workshop called for unity and collaboration between tourism based organisations, council and operators. Collective approaches were called for to develop and facilitate opportunities. There was a lack of understanding of ‘who was doing what’ in the local tourism industry.

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The transit centre concept was seen as a strong opportunity to improve welcoming services to visitors. There was a major concern about the lack of facilities and information for passengers and visitors to the region arriving by public transport. This lack of services included phone, taxi service, bus schedules, toilets, alternate bus schedules, shelter and general information. Poor condition of National Parks was raised as a barrier to tourism with a call for better maintenance and access and improved signage. The lack of national standard facilities to allow sports tourism events was seen as a major deterrent.

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT has compiled a full report on the Transit Centre including the outcomes of the Tourism Forum. In GCT’s advocacy role, this report has been submitted to Gympie Regional Council, State Government and bus businesses calling for a meeting to discuss the issues and possible solutions. A temporary solution that could be actioned immediately would be the correlation and display of information for tourists to be placed at transportation points. An unmanned static transit Centre would be the ideal solution. This would require information to be displayed, shelter and some services such as phones etc. National Parks conditions and facilities will be addressed in new State Government projects recently awarded to various NFP organisations. Conservation Volunteers Australia are partnering with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to work in several National Parks in this area which will start to address these concerns. GCT has close networks with CVA with the Queensland Friends of Parks Manager being a GCT Board Director.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

INFRASTRUCTURE Infrastructure concerns mainly concentrated on the Bruce Highway and main roads to the subregions. It was recognised that the major highway upgrade will increase accessibility to this region as a destination and would assist the tourism industry improved sourcing visitation from SEQ.

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MARKETING AND PROMOTION GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE

Bundling and packaging options for the region, eco-tourism development and embracing the grey nomad market were strong themes that were repeated in the workshop. A mature digital presence was seen as vital to successfully marketing the region and its businesses. It was clear that participants were dissatisfied with regional marketing of the area and this was linked to a clear brand or identity being promoted. Calls for collaboration were also strong in the marketing theme.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism has built its marketing on what visitors to this region recognise and love – that is the authenticity of the people, the places and the experiences. Tourism marketing across Australia is being directed towards telling stories. GCT has embraced this concept and implemented it’s through digital marketing. Research shows that travellers want an authentic or REAL experience. GCT has brought these concepts together and currently promotes this this region as Gympie Cooloola having REAL experiences - Real people - REAL stories in its marketing approaches. Blogging, Social Media, Website, E-books and hardcopy brochures make up the suite of GCT marketing and promotion. GCT utilises research on segmentation and markets to the relative sectors for this region. GCT is gaining significant exposure for the Gympie Cooloola region and its members through its digital marketing.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

A strong theme voiced throughout the workshop was the need for a clear identity for the region as a destination and subsequent brand promotion. Historically the Gympie Cooloola Region has been recognised as the area ‘Touching Noosa – Touching Fraser’ which are two nationally and internationally recognised brands. This was particularly used when the region was called Cooloola, a relatively unknown name or destination. With the change of the regions name to Gympie in 2008, many felt that this only highlighted the city of Gympie and not the surrounding areas. The Cooloola Coast is a significant part of this region’s tourism product hence Gympie Cooloola Tourism’s (business) name recognising both identities.

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Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report


INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

Transport and access for travellers was a significant issue raised. The current lack of welcoming information and services infrastructure in Gympie was considered as a major deterrent for visitors and the long supported concept of a transit centre was again raised for attention by multiple groups in the workshop. The development of a transit centre was also seen as an opportunity for the region. Distance to markets in SEQ was also seen as a barrier to building the local tourism industry, as well as lack of technology, training, digital maturity. Council red tape was seen as a barrier to industry investment, as well as and lack of ‘serious support’ and investment in developing the industry. The national issue of operating hours and penalty rates as crippling the tourism industry was also highlighted as a major issue locally.

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT participates in various forms of Industry Development including funding the Australia Nature Coast project for two years and developing partnerships with Tourism Industry Bodies. Eco Tourism is recognised by GCT as this regions strong point and has developed its digital and social marketing strategies to highlight this aspect. Industry Development partnerships include; - EC3 Global - Caravan RV Australia - AAA Tourism - Service Skills Australia - University of the Sunshine Coast - Tin Can Bay Tourism - Sunshine Coast Destination Limited - Tourism Noosa - Australian Tourism Data Warehouse - Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Advocacy on issues not within GCT’s role will continue to assist the development of the regions tourism industry.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Funding for training and developing the sports and cultural tourism sector were seen as positive opportunities for developing the tourism industry in the Gympie Cooloola region. These were supported by a call to promote this region’s strong and unique Eco Tourism credentials to attract national and international visitation. Support from Government (Local and State) were seen as essential and lack of funding for all aspects of industry training was seen as a major impediment to industry development.

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Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Clive Sanderson, Roundabout Tours, Sally Garrahy, Creative Harmony Design for Living and Mark Phillips discussing tourism development at the Forum. Access Advisory Committee members with Sean O'Hanlon, Cobb & Co Mile Camping and Roxanne McGregor. Qld Parks and Wildlife, University SSC and Conservation Volunteers Australia representatives.

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PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS Multiple opportunities were highlighted for partnerships with the Universities and TAFE colleges noted as important partners in tourism development. Possible partnership based projects between Government and tourism organisations or clusters were also seen as positive opportunities that should be explored.

GCT has continued its strong relationship with Sunshine Coast Destination (SCDL) and has delivered significant benefits to its members through partnership projects – particularly through the transition phase of tourism in Gympie Region. Other partnership outcomes have been with ATDW and Gympie Regional Council to deliver benefits to operators.

Unity and collaboration between all of industry, government and local organisations was seen as linkages imperative to the success of the local tourism industry in the future.

Partnerships with Skills Service Australia and the University of the Sunshine Coast continue to provide industry development opportunities to GCT members. In addition, strategic partnerships have also included Ec3 Global, EcoTourism Australia, Caravan RV Australia and AAA Tourism which are recognised as TQUAL Accreditations.

It was also suggested that the RTO/LTO structures would benefit from the inclusion of GCT as a member-based tourism organisation.

GCT is partnering with local tourism groups including - Mary Valley Country - Tin Can Bay Chamber of Commerce - Tin Can Bay Tourism - Rainbow Beach Tourism - Goomeri Chamber of Commerce - Gympie Chamber of Commerce - Fraser Coast Tourism - Tourism Noosa GCT remains an active member based tourism organisation to act on behalf of its members. It is the only region-wide member based organisation delivering this role.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE

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RESEARCH AND STATISTICS

The lack of knowledge of local product was seen as a major barrier to promoting this region. A tourism product audit was called for as well as meaningful visitor research. Opportunities in this sector include the involvement of the University of Sunshine Coast and Gympie Cooloola Tourism.

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT as the LTO historically has facilitated tourism data collation through the RTO (Sunshine Coast) with funding from Council. This has not occurred for several years due to tourism structures changing at a State, Regional and Local level. GCT is unaware of any current activity in this area and is therefore working with USC to develop a collaborative project that will see significant and dedicated research into tourism statistics which will assist not only strategic planning for tourism but also business planning. GCT welcomes a collaborate approach that could include Gympie Regional Council to achieve these outcomes for the region’s tourism industry. GCT promotes local product (through its membership) via a strong digital presence and therefore assists with distribution of product knowledge.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

The Gympie Cooloola region has always struggled to gain meaningful tourism data that relates to this specific region. This stems from being a part of the Sunshine Coast Tourism Region (RTO) and a lack of funding input to the RTO. For the past several years there has not been any local tourism research undertaken for this region which constrains all levels of the industry, from business planning to regional marketing strategy and planning. This lack of information also plays a major part in impeding new tourism investment and planning and was also seen as an industry development issue.

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PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT The population spread from SEQ to this region was seen as an opportunity to build new tourism product and it was also recognised that council red tape could be reduced to assist in potential new investment. It was recognised that there was no new interesting or diverse tourism product on offer in the region and this was a barrier to regional marketing. Many ideas were put forward, some of which may already be in place or commencing. The Mary Valley Heritage Railway was seen as a major tourism icon and an opportunity for the broader region if successfully operated. The historical aspect of Gympie was seen as a strong marketing option and support for heritage events such as the Gold Rush Festival were important.

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT’s main role in product development is advocacy and support. By continuing to work with members, engage with business and regional leaders, participate at a Local, Regional and State level, GCT can advocate for and provide support to product development drives whilst bringing information to the Gympie Cooloola region. A list of ideas suggested at the workshop is included below for information sharing purposes. GCT acknowledges that some of these are already in operation.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Mary Valley Heritage Rattler Population spreading from SEQ to this region - possibility for new tourism business Guided bus tours to Fraser Island from Gympie Home of the Lung Fish – marketing opportunity Street scapes for communities – coastal and country Muster Site closer to Highway in Mary Valley Open up Go Cart Track Aero club at kybong to run joy flights, glider Gympie kart club to open up to the public Water park with a difference, slides and activities, built around gold mine theme Water destination, rainbow beach, dragon boats, more aqua activities Festivals - Kids and families, young people, carnivals, markets, music Large motel beside train station Marathon: inskip to double island and return (only beach marathon in the world) Hunt for the Mary river crocodile Cultural festivals (arts and performances/music etc) Underground mine tours Photographic safaris

Paul Gibbs, business entrepreneur from Sydney, Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce, Janelle Parker, MVHR representative, Jim Walker, Gympie Chamber, Glen Alfredson and Business entrepreneur Mark Phillips discussing Product Development opportunities.

General facelift in local businesses Organized trail running - link with TRAQ Outdoor mountain bike trails Slow food - cullinary tours Farm stays - city to country Develop escape tours (bus/self drive) (app) from maleny, Mapleton, eumundi, coroy Airport Kybong – Joy Flights

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Gold Rush - Heritage - Historical strength of region - Historical tourism

Cultural Festival - driven by indigenous population but inclusive of all cultures Biosphere & National Parks – capitalise on both Stop through traffic – develop reason to stop on way through Drive itineraries - opportunities for packaging and bundling Mary Valley – develop a slow food festival building on existing projects (Mary Valley Country Flavours)

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Tourism Destination Planning that includes the Gympie Cooloola region was undertaken in the previous tourism structure pre Council amalgamation – and it is believed that since 2008 no destination planning in this RTO area has been undertaken that includes the Gympie Cooloola region. The participants felt that this was again another example of not being seriously considered as part of the RTO region and may possibly stem from lack of financial investment by the local Council. The lack of research data on this region was also raised under this theme as a major barrier to undertaking serious strategic or destination planning. The workshops noted that an inclusive approach to tourism structures currently excluded Gympie Cooloola Tourism and was also proving detrimental for strategic planning. It was noted that GCT’s inclusion in the regional tourism structures would benefit the whole region and called for that to happen .

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT continues to offer to work collaboratively with Gympie Regional Council’s tourism arm Destination Gympie Region. GCT’s role does not clash with the roles and responsibilities of the LTO (Council) and believes its work compliments Council’s activities. GCT participates at every opportunity with State and Regional strategic planning for tourism by providing feedback and input into planning workshops, surveys, conferences and the like. GCT will continue to advocate for tourism destination planning for this region and the inclusion of operator input into this planning. GCT is also working with USC to develop a collaborative project that will see significant and dedicated research into tourism statistics which will assist not only strategic planning for tourism in general but also business planning. GCT works with any partners that will assist in achieving goals for this region.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

STRATEGIC PLANNING The workshop strongly supported the concept of an inclusive and innovative Regional Tourism Strategy that saw all tourism organisations involved as well as strong consultation with businesses operators.

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INDUSTRY ISSUES GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM RESPONSE GCT is proactive in relation to working with State Government and QTIC whenever possible. GCT was represented at DestinationQ with the Chairman nominated for inclusion as one of the guest presenters on strategies for consideration at the conference. GCT also provides industry feedback and participation at Government forums and workshops on tourism matters. GCT provides a significant amount of industry information to its members and has developed marketing strategies based on market segmentation that addresses the demographic change and discretionary spend.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Several issues were noted as affecting the tourism industry in general including the GFC, lower discretionary spend of visitors, a changing demographic, unemployment and general business uncertainty. Some noted the new tourism structures as barriers and questioned whether they were currently functioning for the local area. Access to State Government tourism support and funding was questioned under the new tourism arrangements with a call for more industry information to be provided.

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Actions ACCESS & TRANSPORT GCT to raise this matter with Gympie Regional Council and David Gibson MP - DONE

Accessibility to businesses and facilities was also an important issue raised for improvement and advocacy by tourism organisations.

GCT to assist where possible in facilitating the implementation of these actions - DONE

GCT to seek to arrange a meeting of all stakeholders to:

DONE

Bring to the collective stakeholder’s attention the issues as identified at the Forum and their impacts on this region

To identify how to resolve the issues identified

GYMPIE RESPONSE

COOLOOLA

TOURISM

GCT has acted on the outcomes of the Tourism Forum in relation to the Transit Centre. Gympie Regional Council and David Gibson MP have been contacted and provided with the report (appendix 1) which has identified stakeholders.

GCT to continue to advocate for this issue to be resolved

ONGOING

As facilitator GCT called for a meeting of all stakeholders.

GCT to provide feedback to the industry on outcomes of this Forum topic

ONGOING

Refer Attachment 1

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

The Main item raised at the forum in relation to transport was the need for a suitable transit centre for the region. This topic was raised under three sectors, Issues, Ideas and Opportunities and was therefore a standout issue for attention.

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Conclusion Gympie Cooloola Tourism is committed to building tourism through its role in matters raised by Actioning, Advocating, Facilitating, Supporting and Achieving. GCT's goal is to promote and support the growth and development of our members through access to industry knowledge and opportunities that will support this progressive region in working towards vibrancy, while empowering businesses to maximise the quality of the visitor experience. GCT is committed to a collective industry approach, working collaboratively with industry stakeholders and government. Partnering with key industry accreditation bodies and training institutions to provide business development opportunities to the region Gympie Cooloola Tourism focuses on four key areas;

The themes raised in the Forum Workshop have been categorised under the relevant GCT key areas as identified in the diagram opposite. GCT has varying roles in relation to these themes and will be implementing the relevant actions in line with our strategic direction.

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT MARKETING & PROMOTION PROJECTS & PARTNERS

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FORUM OUTCOMES - ACTIONS

ATTACHMENT 1

GYMPIE COOLOOLA TOURISM FUTURES FORUM

APPENDIX 1 - TRANSIT CENTRE

Issues

Ideas

Currently people are catching commercial buses/coaches at Matilda then either head to Rainbow Beach/Tin Can Bay OR other destinations further north or south.

No opportunity for these travellers to go to Gympie and then either stay or do day trips using Gympie as a base.

No Transit Centre in Gympie for busses to drop travellers or to welcome visitors

No phone facilities at current stopping point - visitors seeking assistance from nearby businesses to phone for taxis

No information about public toilets – visitors also asking businesses to use their toilet facilities

No display information to show disembarking visitors where important locations/services are in Gympie or when or where the next bus is arriving.

No information at all available.

No shelter for disembarking visitors

Local information could be places in bus shelters to service visitors currently disembarking in Gympie and surrounds - ie connecting services, taxis, hospitals, public toilets

Develop a list of priorities so Gympie can better service its visitors

Transit Centres do not have to be manned – they can provide information as static displays

Need a covered area for visitors to wait for busses or to be collected

Get Local and State Government involved

Install a pay phone at the bus stop

Build a larger covered shelter for visitors

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

The Transit Centre was raised in three sectors, Issues, Ideas and Opportunities and was therefore a standout issue for attention.

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    

Stakeholders

GCT Role

 

To improve transit facilities and general information for visitors to the Gympie Region To provide safe transit facilities for travelers within the region To promote connecting services throughout the region To allow transport users in the region to travel further and experience more of Gympie Cooloola To increase business opportunities by improved transport services and welcoming and safe transit sites To promote transport as a safe, enjoyable and satisfying travel mode to the Gympie Cooloola Region Adding another facet to help promote visitation to the Gympie Cooloola Region

         

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Gympie Regional Council Queensland Transport – Translink Polleys Coaches as the Translink operators in Gympie and Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay Karrabee Bus & Coach operators in Mary Valley The operators from Kilkivan Destination Gympie Region Queensland Rail Greyhound Coaches David Gibson MP

 

Advocacy Facilitator

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Opportunities

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Actions

Julie Worth

GCT to raise this matter with Gympie Regional Council and David Gibson MP

DONE

GCT to seek to arrange a meeting of all stakeholders to:

DONE

Bring to the collective stakeholder’s attention the issues as identified at the Forum and their impacts on this region

To identify how to resolve the issues identified

GCT to assist where possible in facilitating the implementation of these actions GCT to continue to advocate for this issue to be resolved GCT to provide feedback to the industry on outcomes of this Forum topic

DONE ONGOING ONGOING

Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Contact

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Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report


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Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report


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Gympie Cooloola Tourism Futures Forum Report

Tourism Futures Forum Report  
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