Monday, October 11, 2010

Greek lessons for New England tourism

I am just back from a visit to Greece and still very jet lagged.

When I was chair of Tourism Armidale, we spoke of attractions and events. This narrow focus, then and still (I think) part of NSW tourism orthodoxy, lies at the heart of tourism failure in New England.

Tourism is not about attractions and events. This is simply a way of categorising certain tourist activities. Rather, tourism is about experiences. This is what Greece has done, and done well.

Over the next week or so, I plan to reflect on some of the lessons from Greece for New England tourism. I would also like to enlist your support in the creation of a new type of tour guide for New England, one that presents New England as a destination totally independent of NSW, a place to visit in its own right.

Sydney is too locked into its own models to give us what we need. It also faces a fundamental conflict of interest: it cannot promote New England as a destination independent of Sydney, indeed in opposition to Sydney. Brand Sydney has to be central.

If Sydney cannot give us what we need, then we need to do it ourselves. To do this, we have to articulate our own vision and stories. We have a lot to sell. We just don't see it.

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