OVERLANDERS WAYSTownsville to Tennant Creek 16THJUNE 2011 Waltzing Matilda Centre Winton
WHAT IS IT ? • Membership is in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding with all shires between Townsville to Tennant Creek in the NT. (7in total). • It spans a State/Territory Border and 1500 kms. Being named to represent the great explorers who followed the route when shipping goods to Camooweal and its logo represents “Reef to the Outback” • Each Shire Council pays an annual fee of $11K and nominates 2 people for the meetings , other stake holders include Main Roads , National Parks and Wildlife. • The nominees for meetings are usually the Visitors Information Centre (VIC) Manager and a representative from Council (Quite often the development officer) • The Overlanders Way has a constitution. Save the expense of a consultant and copy this one. It also has a formal Vision Statement • A Chairperson and Secretary are appointed from each shire on a two year rotation basis. (Signatory for funds, application for grants, chair meetings, minutes of which I have some copies etc )
WHY IS IT? • Formed in 1997, the Overlanders Way was an initiative of the then Manager of the new 20 million dollar Outback at Isa Centre. (Glen Graham) • The Core aim was to increase visitation, length of stay, spend, return and referral to the region. • An initial grant of $300k from the Queensland Heritage Trails Network enabled the establishment of signage in and out of each town, logo design, maps, and a web site. The Matildas Way received the same initial funding.
From Little Things Big Things Grow • If nothing else the greatest achievement the Overlanders Way can lay claim to is the constant upgrading of its tourism product. • This sort of expenditure doesn't happen by chance. • No greater example than this exists, than Richmond. • A classic example of something so small as taking visitor numbers at the VICs and sharing that knowledge has lead to a town being completely turned around.
What has grown out of the OW ? Richmond
RICHMOND • One of the first Shires to see the volume or sheer numbers of travellers on the Overlanders Way was the Richmond Shire. Mayor John Wharton could see the numbers of visitors were great at Charters Towers and Hughenden VICs and then fell away again until Mount Isa. • Hence the idea of the lake and Kronasaurus corner was formed and the VIC numbers at Richmond shot up. (Justifying the spend from council) • So what happened then was that you had people turning up at Richmond and seeingthe lake. • The kids had a swim and a play in the water park, they then had a stroll around the lake. They read information about Kronasaurus Korner and then the kids who weredinosaur mad wanted to see it, next minute its late and they need to stay in Richmond. So this lead to a brand Motel and a beautiful caravan park which looks over the lake. • Richmond went from nothing to one of the must stops on the Way within 4 years.
The next “weakest link” was Julia Creek. The story of Julia Creek and its two million dollar award winning Vic “At the Creek” is also interesting. • Funding came from Mount Isa, the CEO at the time had just left the Isa knowing there was a weir project the city wouldn’t be proceeding with, (Change of Mayor) and application was made, money arrived. • As shown in the previous photo other tourism industries have started with the support of local Government and with the opportunity that follows investment in tourism. (Proa Red claw farm is really more a result of what happened at Richmond but the point is still the same )
CLONCURRY • Numbers wise, Cloncurry is now the “weakest link” and plans are now in place to build a new VIC to direct people to John Flynn place. • Mayor and councillors get a bit worried when they spend money on anything other than roads so to have the numbers is essential when getting the spend on the VICs and their staff.
Charters Towers and Hughenden • Charters Towers and Hughenden share the amazing White Mountains National Park between them. Both are now developing it and it’s tourism potential. • If this tourism development keeps up the Overlanders Way will have to change its vision statement, instead of getting visitors to stay an extra couple nights on the Overlanders Way, to the Overlanders Way being the end destination.
ACHIEVEMENTS • Initially Signage, maps and collective marketing, opening up the lines of communications. (Any of the seminars will tell your VIC managers they should be ringing a different VIC at least once a month to chat about what’s happening and pass on information, events, hints, tips, and what to expect. • Funding, last year the Overlanders Way received two lots of funding, $75,000.00 from the state government and $10,000.00 from MITEZ. This was for an upgrade of our web site and to redesign our logo and to market the Overlanders Way. (New Signage TV advertising campaign) • Tennant Creek for the first time this coming financial year, will take part inthe Overlanders Way Project. • Awards, the OWP has been recognised at the recent Local Government Management Awards for it collaborative approach. • Julia Creek was recognised for its new centre. Shane
IN SUMMARY • Justification in Council spending. (If Councilsknow they can get a return on investment area, it is good encouragement tonot just spend it on the three Rs.) • Collaborative Approach to selling the region, so it saves when sending people to the Tourism shows and expos. Each shire is happy to know that a selected representation from any one of the region will do a good job in selling their shire as well as the next along the way for the collective good. • Funding, Governments and other organisations have proven they are more likely to give money to a group of regions rather than just one town for many reasons; • 1) Safer if a collective group is handling the money. • 2) They perceive the money will go further and they hopefully will win more votes across a broader region.
The Overlanders Way would never have dreamed of getting money from some of the organisations it has 10 or 15years ago, you really don’t know what else is out there. MITEZ and DKA as an example. • The VICs talk about a more relaxed visitor now that the Way has an up graded tourism product, they stay longer and look forward to each regions attractions, they feel more loyalty to spend in a region that has a collective approach (branding) to spending on the tourism in a region. It is always good to exceed a visitor’s expectation, your staff arehappier, you know you will get the visitor back at some stage and all importantly they will tell their friends and fellow visitors.
THE FUTURE • Well that's what we leave to Tony Robinson and his WIFI
Things I have that might help... • Copy of the Constitution • Copy of the Outback Tourism Survey • Terms of Reference for Overlanders Way Upgrade • Copy of Southern Cross Media Campaign (detailing 50% off through Desert Knowledge) • Overlanders Way/ Matilda Highway Case Study • Copy of Minutes of Meetings