An emerging outstanding social and economic booster of the present age is tourism. But, major obstacles and chances facing the sector still demand a universal sense of commitment and proper strategic awareness. To completely utilize the existing chances and the mutual gains brought by tourism in Australia, it will be necessary for the sector and its various partners to show a sense of strategic planning.
Currently, tourism is a vital driving force of the economy of South Australia.Up to December 2013, 5.6 million visitors who stayed overnight in 18,000 businesses involved in the tourist sector spent $5.1b. This accounted for 31,000 direct employment opportunities for South Australians. That makes tourism important to the states regional economies asit accounts for 44% of spending on tourism even though only a small percentage of South Australians, 23%, live in this state's regions. With the state changing from its traditional manufacturing base into a variety of new industries, tourism is bound to play an important role. It is not only South Australia that has earmarked tourism as a significant driver of the economy in future activities. A recent study known as "Building the Lucky Country" carried out by Deloitte, indicated that tourism is amongst the fastest growing industries that will drive the post-mining Australian economic boom. Analysis done by BDA Marketing Planning indicates the tourism industry in South Australia is able to achieve more than just average growth. It is estimated that by December 2020 its potential shall be $8.0b necessitating competitive gains in share spread throughout all aspects of the tourism industry in South Australia. The plan mainly focuses on achieving the $8.0b potential.But despite such projections, I'll still need to examine how sustainable this can be, and make important recommendations on how to adopt the best sustainability plan possible, as an informed expert and stakeholder.
The Historical Context of the Present Plan
In a series of joint government/tourist industry plans providing the same vision, definite direction and reasonable grounds for growth and sustainability from 1981, the South Australian Tourism agenda 2003-2008 takes the fifth position. Within the framework of sustaining tourism, the Tourism Plan targets four major objectives to enable this ambitious figure to be achieved.
The goals include: development of credible products and destinations; ability to excel in marketing; strategically aligning tourism policy, investing and developing; and initiating a stable, profitable and professional industry. Despite facing many obstacles, the plan aims to use branding and positioning of its value-added products and services to gain a foothold in both international and domestic markets. The obstacles include sustainability, cohesion in the industry, air links, attraction, and spread of gains, accommodation, low industry standards, skill of workforce, infrastructure, technology, policy, access, investment, and management of risks (South Australian Tourism Commission, 2003).
Apart from increasing the number of visitors, and how long they stay and how much they spend, The South Australian Tourism Plan 2009-2014 aims to "increase visitor expenditure in South Australia's tourism industry from $3.7 billion in 2002 to $6.3 billion by 2014."Key elements such as target setting and identifying primary target markets, formulating a mission statement and communication strategy are included in the planning process. To do this, it was important to confront and interpret the thorny issues affecting South Australian tourism. To fully exploit the advantages of the South Australian Tourism Plan 2009-2014, certain priorities to be addressed by the plan such as coming up with new signature experiences, improvement of channels of distribution, improvement of air access, instilling an atmosphere of positive policy, increasing industry capacity and impactful communication were put in place. The plan also put in place the adoption of a holistic government approach to tourism, besides larger partnerships with stakeholders and the private sector as important factors if the plan were to succeed. The tourism industry must propel collaboration to higher levels taking into account the involvement of the State Government which is important in many respects.So as to deliver new tourism experiences consistently and clearly, emphasis should be on case management, funding, research, policy and relationships.
In the South Australian Tourism Commission Plan 2012-14, the plan intends to work with the industry to spur growth by delivering events and development programs so that spending on tourism in South Australia could shoot to a potential of $8b by December 2020. The plan envisioned three general markets namely a few international markets, intrastate and interstate. The focus areas of this plan included: increasing Adelaide's fame as a first class city offering varied experiences, international marketing, improving air access, interstate marketing, enhanced food and wine experiences; and boosting South Australia's tourism aims by opening internet channels.
The three principles underpinning this plan are communication, connection, and capability. The principle of connection involves linking with the stakeholders in the industry and other representative agencies, state, federal and local government, consumers and commercial partners in SATC and working with several units to uniformly deliver projects.The principle of communication entails communication with industry, potential tourism investors, consumers, government at all levels, media and within the SATC. The capability principle entails capability of the industry to deliver and market a world-class experience, SATC to concentrate on delivering projects that can add to tourism growth and the development of our people (South Australian Tourism Commission Plan 2012-14).
The proposed plan is advanced by the former plan. The South Australian Tourism Plan 2015-2020 is the seventh for South Australia and is founded on what was proposed by the 2009-2014 plan. Certain aspects captured in the first plan are in progress making it possible to retain the pace and gains achieved. The plan therefore continues the important priority steps of 2009-2014 by laying emphasis on the work accomplished so far, and stressing the focus needed to attain the set goals, for example 'Better communication of the best of what the targeted audience wishes to buy' is a theme that is ongoing. Businesses and Government, stakeholders spanning the industry, and South Australia's regionsjointly developed the plan through wide consultation bringing together over 400 individuals presently. The plan recognizes that the $8b potential can only be achieved if there is focused and concerted input by all stakeholders
What is important is that all stakeholders work together by acknowledging the various visitors to South Australia, including those looking for exceptional holiday adventure, or those who come merely to visit, do business, attend conventions and meetings, educate themselves or attend fairs and other events. While not downplaying the importance of intrastate and international visitors to the economy and industry, the plan also recognizes the value of domestic and intrastate markets. All four groups are covered by the plan. It also notes that whereas certain markets will push forward market share growth through huge spending and higher visits, the present markets will still need support and maintenance. Recognizing the importance of SATC focusing their effort on priority tasks instead of wasting their energy in unnecessary areas, provides the right context of the existing changing economic situation on which the plan is set.
The Context of Planning
Tourism 2020 represents an unforeseen degree of cooperation between the Australian state and territory governments and industry in tackling the challenges to industry progress. The entire government and people seem to be involved in improving the productive capacity of the industry. It aims to create a policy framework that will encourage industry growth and give industry the means to compete well in the global economy, and to utilize the chances created by Asia. As a result, The National Long-Term Tourism Strategy was inaugurated in December 2009, and the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential in November 2010. The National Long-Term Tourism Strategy has beenupgraded and improved since its inception in order to fit with the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential. Australia is different from other destinations because of its variety of assets which include the indigenous cultures and heritage of the aboriginals, tolerance and friendliness, cultural diversity, nature-based tourism, unique landscapes, and great metropolises and regions. But still, for a vibrant and successful tourism industry more is needed.(Tourism, 2020).
The South Australian Tourism Plan 2003-2008 mainly concentrates on two major goals namely: increasing and improving the state's real experiences; and productively marketing the state. To achieve these goals, the plan suggested various criteria such asdevelopment of a balanced calendar of activities and fairs, adding value to the state's natural resources, improving the food and wine experience; and amongst others, enhancing a collective coastal experience.
The South Australian Tourism Plan 2009-2014 mainly focuses on four major aspects (communication, leveraging, development and activation). Within this there are thirteen sub-categories, with each strategy being boosted by a vibrant rationale and particular actions that showcase the plan's strategy to achieve meaningful growth in this sector. In order to remain focused on the strategies, and to be able to monitor development routinely, quite a number of prominent measures have been put in place. To achieve this, partnerships must play prominent and major roles. Part of the South Australian Tourism Commission Plan 2012-14 sees events…