Minnamurra Rainforest Centre Product and Feasibility Assessment
NSW National Parks asked us to work with their upgrade team, to re-think the experiences on offer in and around a newly designed Visitor Information Centre. The aims: to attract and retain a growing number of vistors from south western Sydney into the Illawarra region, and improve cost recovery levels.
We consulted with regional tourism stakeholders and determined the current markets and thier needs, including business and sporting events, visiting families and relatives and the self-driving day traveller. One of the principles of Park development is to de-harden current infrastructure to encourage longer stays, more lingering and increased spend in the cafe/retail areas - also being re-designed. Specifically we suggested re-opening existing tracks along waterways, having more landscaped designs for group seating areas, secluded areas people can linger on hammocks and watch the lyrebirds scratch around in peace, tree hides, nature play, ropes courses for adults and open spaces to encourage unique evening functions under a natural rainforest canopy.
With associate consultant Phil Hudson from Hudson Howells, we assessed the most appropriate and likely type of accommodation development on a greenfield site adjacent to the Minnamurra Rainforst Visitor Information Centre. The site presented some linked product opportunities such as accommodation for people attending evening events at the Centre (weddings or bespoke business planning events). Our research into these markets in this particular site, showed demand was thin, but there was some linked opportunity around events. However it was more likely the revenue from overnight, family style accommodation, sold year round, would make the tourism capital projects more feasible together, than the VIC upgrade alone.
Our recommendations included further community consultation on planned projects, working with commercial indigenous tourism operators for the cultural connection of place and the story of Minnamurra (indigenous words for 'many rivers') in the broader region and ongoing social media promotion in partnership with Kiama Council.
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