3 - Opportunities to Support a Vibrant Visitor Economy
3.1 Strategy Themes
Opportunities for action are informed by the findings of the research, consultation and analysis undertaken to inform the preparation of the Somerset Tourism Strategy, together with the recommended tourism vision and charter. The opportunities for action are presented under five themes as follows.
From a long-list of opportunities identified through the strategy research, consultation and analysis, and following further consultation with and direction from Somerset Regional Council’s senior staff and Councillors, 12 priority opportunities for action have been considered as those initiatives to be progressed over the life of the strategy. Implementation and progression of these key priorities will be reviewed every 12 months and reassessed from the pool of opportunities. Priorities may be subject to change dependent on political, economic or social factors.
Some of these priorities are focused on catalyst project planning and development initiatives which require action combined with a well-planned course of project implementation for the desired outcomes to be realised over time. Others are focussed on strategic program implementation and are initiatives that can be addressed as part of Somerset Regional Council’s day-to-day strategic planning and facilitation functions. The 12 priority opportunities for action are as follows.
Theme 1: Tourism Marketing, Visitor Information and Destination Management
❖ Prepare a Somerset Region Tourism Marketing Plan - Scope the preparation of a Somerset Region Tourism Marketing Plan, beginning with a review and assessment of current marketing activities including social media marketing and tourism website content and structure. A marketing plan would identify appropriate approaches to developing, amongst other things, a targeted multi-platform tourism advertising campaign. Ensure branding clearly articulates the Somerset Region’s point of difference while connecting and promoting the local tourism offer’s place in the wider SEQ branding and destination management framework.
❖ Develop a Single Online Entry Point / Website Landing Page - As part of the proposed marketing plan, review the Experience Somerset website in conjunction with an audit of other tourism promotional web sites with a view to enhancing the region’s digital presence with an easy-to-find (search engineoptimised), well-designed and branded, easy-to-navigate and regularly updated landing page.
❖ Investigate Opportunities to Tap Into the Large Tour Group Market - Explore opportunities to work with the Somerset Region’s tourism operators to improve the offering for large group tours including international visitor tours, caravan and camping club, car club and the motorcycle club drive market.
❖ Prepare a Town Centre Entry Enhancement and Wayfinding Strategy - Prepare a strategy which identifies streetscaping and place-making initiatives to enhance the entrance to the Somerset Region’s towns and villages and support with consistent branded town entry statement signage and clear and simple directional signage at strategic junctures throughout the region.
Theme 2: Catalyst Project Planning and Advocacy
❖ Implement a Program of Rail Trail Infrastructure Improvements - Improve the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail experience with a program to establish more resting facilities, tree plantings and shade structures, water fountains and toilet facilities.
❖ Prepare a Mount Glen Rock Tourism Concept Plan - Following Somerset Regional Council’s purchase of Mount Glen Rock for a multi-use recreational park, explore concepts that would elevate this asset to an attraction of international standard. A concept plan would consider and address opportunities for a diversity of recreational activities including mountain biking, formal walking / riding tracks and visitor information points and other support facilities.
❖ Develop Rail Trail and River Tourism - Explore opportunities to organise paddling tours on the Brisbane River with booked camping along the way. Visitors could be attracted to organised tours which could include cycling the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, camping and drop-off for river paddle tours. Pick-up and drop-off points located at campsites would be necessary.
Theme 3: Tourism Asset and Infrastructure Planning and Development
❖ Undertake an Updated Visitor Accommodation Investigation - Explore opportunities to enhance the visitor accommodation offer in the Somerset Region by confirming visitor segment needs and expectations, undertaking market assessments and preparing business cases. Re-visit the need and opportunity for additional caravan park facilities and explore the concept of a business case for an ‘eco-lodge’ accommodation facility in a location with access to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and / or dam lakes.
Theme 4: Design and Delivery of Festivals and Events
❖ Promote and Leverage the Brisbane Air Show - Leveraging the profile of the Brisbane Air Show and other activities at the Watts Bridge Airfield, develop and implement a strategy to showcase the Somerset Region as a tourist attraction with national and international appeal.
❖ Explore a More Strategic and Coordinated Approach to Events Planning and Promotion - Review existing festivals and events (e.g. water events (sailing, fishing, rowing, water-skiing), sporting events (trail runs / rides utilising the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, race days, rodeos, skydiving events / days, motorsports), food and wine and identify opportunities for existing and emerging events throughout the Somerset Region to become part of a wider, coordinated calendar of events.
Theme 5: Visitor Economy Business Support and Investment Promotion
❖ Build Local Tourism Partnerships - Investigate ways to build the region’s collective capacity to connect and grow the Somerset visitor economy. Explore collaborative ways to nurture and develop stakeholder partnerships – Council, operators, tourism bodies, government – in a strategic, informed and targeted manner which articulates a shared vision about the future of the visitor economy and a how to get there. Strategy Monitoring and Review
❖ Undertake an Annual Review of Tourism Strategy Implementation Priorities - To ensure Council’s resources are directed to those projects and programs which generate the greatest return on investment, consistent with the vision for tourism in the Somerset Region and Council’s Tourism Charter, it is recommended an annual review of strategy implementation priorities be undertaken and that Council: renew its commitment to on-going priority initiatives; and identify and commit to new opportunities - including those which capitalise on the 2032 Olympic Games - as circumstances and resources warrant.