Marketing Tourism in National Parks

Across Australia, it’s topical for various Departments of Environment to look more closely at how to move from being nature conservationists, to contributing to the state economy via tourism visitation and spend.

The ‘product’ of National Parks, Reserves and various heritage sites they manage is wilderness, nature experiences, walking trails and increasingly accommodation.

Clear Vision Consulting has worked with the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage and the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, plus a number of Natural Resource Management Boards on understanding tourism, stakeholder engagement, planning where to put limited resources by prioritising actions that promote  competitive strengths, understanding the consumer journey – answering ‘how do we get there and where can we stay’ type questions – and promotion; beyond great pictures and into tourism writing, trade distribution and more.

As Australia is promoted by Tourism Australia on food, beaches and water experiences currently,  states are now competing with one another to attract market share to their Parks and Reserves.  There’s  growing interest  in how to work with the tourism private sector to attract investors, commercial tour operators and accommodation managers and developers on publicly owned and managed land. This is a great idea in my view, but one that has to be managed sensitively for win-win gains, or should that be win (government) – win (investor) – win (tourist and public) – which is harder than it sounds. Actually it does sound pretty hard. Which is probably why there aren’t that many successful  models to follow, where governments have successfully developed clear investment guidelines for private sector investment. Working for the ‘public interest’ is quite a broad statement, and the role of public servants, but an investor needs much clearer terms than that. Specifically the public being targeted are paying tourists, so mixing it up with Mrs Brown the taxpayer down the road who never visits the Park and doesn’t want Company ABC to invest, is confusing the target market. Not helpful to the investor.

CVC helps Departments of Environments to identify who their visitors are, what the experiences on offer are and how to work with the existing tourism industry to develop further commercial relationships for economic development and public gain through revenue raising, and profitable investment opportunities. On the flip side, we work with private operators to develop and write proposals for investment, including destination and visitor market data, presenting the business case, financial modelling, forward sales/booking estimates and proposing a fee and management structure that will benefit the Department. It helps if there’s an investment policy available to follow, but often this isn’t the case, so we present unsolicited proposals and consult with senior management to understand acceptable terms and conditions.

If you’d like to know more, or want some help to get your private sector tourism project going on public land, get in touch.

 

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