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Wellington Local News:
Strategy To Put Culture On Tourism Map

Gippsland’s wealth of cultural activities is set to become a key player in the local tourism industry

By Karen Gregory - 7th November 2002 - Back to News

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The region is about to build on Victoria’s reputation as the cultural centre of Australia by marketing and promoting its arts, festivals, heritage and cultural attractions.

Gippsland Local Government Network has endorsed a Tourism Strategy that marks cultural tourism as a major growth area of the industry.

GLGN Chairman, Councillor Malcolm Hole, officially launched the strategy at the Court Theatre Stratford on Thursday 7 November. To reflect the Gippsland wide nature of this partnership project it was also launched at two other venues across Gippsland on the same day - West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul and Meeniyan Art Gallery, Meeniyan.

Councillor Hole said that the strategy would tap into opportunities to develop a significant cultural tourism market in Gippsland.

"Traditionally, Melbourne is seen as the epitome of culture and arts innovation in Australia, but cultural activities and attractions extend far beyond metropolitan boundaries.

"We want to encourage people to look further afield, to explore our largely untapped outlets of creativity and abundance of cultural attractions.

"We have museums, historic sites, performing arts companies, festivals, galleries, art studios – in short, all the attractions that many shires depend upon as their main source of tourism. Here in Gippsland, these great attractions have previously gone largely unrecognised as we concentrated on marketing our superb mountains, lakes and waterways."

Work began on the strategy in 2001 when Wellington Shire Council invited the Gippsland shires of Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, Latrobe City and South Gippsland to join a partnership to develop cultural tourism in the region.

The Creative Gippsland Network was formed and Pathfinder Marketing was commissioned to explore opportunities for branching into the cultural tourism market.

Research and development of the strategy was funded by Arts Victoria and it will be implemented under Federal Government’s regional assistance program.

The launch of the Creative Gippsland strategy coincides with the release of the long awaited statewide Tourism Victoria Cultural Tourism Strategy.

Project officer Carolyn Crossley said key priority actions of the strategy includes moves to strengthen the Creative Gippsland Network and to encourage cultural and heritage organisations to join their local tourism association and become part of the tourism industry.

The network, which is currently producing promotional and marketing material including an information web site, will also play a prominent part in regional tourism events, using them to introduce and promote cultural tourism opportunities to tourism operators both within Gippsland and in the broader tourism marketplace.

"It’s important to keep tabs on our potential market to ensure that this strategy is properly targeted and developed," said Carolyn.

"We will work with cultural, heritage, festivals and arts organisations and arts enterprises to develop consistent and comparable data collection and visitor surveys."

Further, we will assist the development of joint ventures and partnerships between our tourism and cultural sectors, with the aim to maximise yield and length of stay.

"This strategy will provide a framework for development of a partnership between tourism and culture and the successful marketing of the product to the Gippsland communities and the wider tourism market."


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