Melanie Anderson, Tourism Noosa's chief executive officer.
Melanie Anderson, Tourism Noosa's chief executive officer.

Value over volume: Tourism Noosa is taking a strategic approach

A thought piece from Tourism Noosa’s CEO Melanie Anderson’s perspective:

We all make up part of the Noosa community. As individuals, as businesses, as environmentalists, as long-term residents and the newest to town, as I am.

Our own individual awareness regarding tourism is important, and the realisation that the coming 10 years will require a different view and approach compared to the previous 10 years is now our reality.

And it is not just our community, it is happening everywhere …

The World Tourism Organisation headline articles state that ‘International Tourist Arrivals Reach 1.4 billion Two Years Ahead of Forecasts’.

The reality for destinations across the world is that more and more people are travelling, and to the furthest parts of the universe.

Looking closer to home, South East Queensland is expected to be home to 4.4 million residents by 2031, that is 2.5 million more residents than now.

This is an incredible increase in population and taking into consideration that Tourism Noosa does not market to this sector, our drive market visitation is something very real and something that our shires transport infrastructure will be required to address.

To what extent we develop a plan in the here and now, is how well we will fare with the increase in day visitors and residents wanting access to our natural assets into the future.

How we prepare and manage this tourism dynamism transcends individuals and will demand a co-ordinated effort from community and government.

Tourism Noosa has moved to a more ‘Destination Management’ role in order to guide and communicate a strategic approach to manage tourist visitation.

We have already seen success in our strategy of ‘Value over Volume’, and we are certainly leading Australia’s other tourism organisations in rolling out our environment sustainability initiative’s such as Trees for Tourism and Plastic Free Noosa.

If we were to look at other global destinations for insights and initiative’s, Banff National Park in Canada implemented a very successful strategy of ‘be prepared and take transit’ where tourists were encouraged to use a newly created park and ride facility. The offering to the visitor economy is to ‘keep your eyes on the scenery’.

The website had 58,153 visits, with an average time of 2 minutes and 15 seconds spent engaging with content in the first year, resulting in a 200 per cent increase in shared transport options and a significant reduction in congestion.

The Netherlands have released a paper – Perspective 2030 Destination the Netherlands, which is an example of a successful co-creation of stakeholders devising an agreed vision and actions in order to have a strategic approach to manage the influx of tourism. It is well worth a read.

Noosa has an opportunity to do something similar. This is what we know from an independent survey commissioned by Noosa Council and Tourism Noosa conducted this year of our community:

  • 80% of Noosa residents indicated that they approved of tourism because it is good for the community and economy
  • Over 90% of Noosa residents agreed that tourism is positive, events assist in non-peak periods and tourism stimulates the local economy
  • 80% of Noosa residents agreed that tourism contributes to increased property values
  • 61% of all negative response feedback from Noosa residents regarding tourism related to traffic congestion, parking and transport
  • Over 40% of the businesses included in this study indicated that they would not be operational, and a further 34% indicated their profitability would decrease without tourism
  • 68% of all Noosa businesses indicated they would like to see tourism growth

What we need to do is navigate a pathway so that we can ensure that Noosa is a great place to live for us all, that our businesses thrive, our visitors agree that our product is of a premium level and that the community is welcoming.

Of equal importance, it is critical that we have an absolute priority placed on our environment and protect it for future generations.

Where do we go from here? How do we ensure a strong economy for the shires commercial operators, who pay the tourism levy, that funds Tourism Noosa.

We have a job to do in working through our co-created community approach to implement future proofing strategies. Key to this is equal voices, a brave approach and a commitment to execute actions.

Tourism Noosa will continue to work collaboratively with community stakeholders and look to benchmark ourselves against global destinations and their management of tourism.

We will find the ‘Noosa Way’ in a balanced social, economic, environmental and cultural bottom line.