Tourism shift avoids winter blues

Tourism shift avoids winter blues

There has been a major change to the way the city of Mount Gambier is being promoted through a tourism perspective to encourage younger visitors to the region.

The latest City of Mount Gambier Regional Guide features a duller version of the iconic Blue Lake than what has been traditionally depicted so millennials and members of generation Z travelling in the winter months avoid disappointment.

City of Mount Gambier strategic development and visitor economy coordinator Amanda Stevens said according to the most recent research for the area, millennial and generation Z travellers make up the majority with 38% and contribute to around 45% of all total spend.

“Since we are aware the high yield travellers to Mount Gambier are year-round visitors, we are reminding them the Blue Lake/Warwar is a constantly changing body of water and that encourages that return visits during all the four seasons,” she said.

“The transformation to that moodier shade of blue during the cooler months of the year is equally as lovely as the vibrant, bright blue when it’s changing for summer,” Ms Stevens said.

“We are really being true to who we are as a city and what we actually have to offer our travellers as well and providing them with that authentic communication.

“The guide is a print publication that is available all year round and we want to make sure they receive the content they were promised in the marketing.

“It is not to say that we do not use the bright blue, we do use that but just not in those print publications that are very permanent and available all year round.”

Ms Stevens said moving forward they will continue with a traveller-centric approach.

“The direction of why we decided to go this way was a strong combination of using research available to us from Tourism Research Australia and also direct traveller feedback,” she said.

“We have received really strong feedback which has given us the confidence to move forward in that space strongly.

“They really do value looking at these places with a lens of conservation and preservation so we are looking at a generation that really values that sustainability and regenerative tourism.

“It is quite a privilege and an honour to see a changing tourism landscape towards that sustainability and regeneration and seeing how the travellers are really driving that and building up a community rather than just using it.”

Mount Gambier local Ben Hood MLC said he encouraged the fresh approach to attracting tourists including youth to the area during the cooler months.

“It is true the Blue Lake is a bit duller for most of the year but that does not mean it is not as magnificent as other times as well,” he said.

“We do have a climate that is a bit on the cold side and I think we should embrace that.

“We need to ensure that our economy is firing throughout the year, not just in the summer months.

“We want to encourage tourists to come and visit Mount Gambier throughout the year and we should really embrace that sort of winter warmer sort of vibe in Mount Gambier.”

Mr Hood said he would like to see nature and adventure tourism embraced in the area including upgrades to the mountain bike and running trails around the Crater Lakes area.

“The people that are involved in adventure tourism and nature tourism do not mind if it is raining and if it is a bit cold because they want to experience the amazing landscapes and nature that Mount Gambier has so much of,” he said.

“I think about the amazing coastlines as well that we have down at Port Mac and around Canunda, those beautiful, rugged coastlines that are magnificent in the winter months as well.

“We do have amazing natural attractions; we should be able to capitalise on them for the benefit of our economy but of course striking that fine balance between ensuring we retain the natural beauty of our area but also allowing people to enjoy that.

“I am all for us pitching a slightly different version or vision of Mount Gambier to people so they know they can enjoy our amazing region, no matter what the month of the year.

“It’s about embracing who we are, not being afraid to capitalise on what we have got and being able to find those opportunities in and around the region throughout the year.”

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