In Greek lessons for New England tourism I said that over the next week or so, I planned to reflect on some of the lessons from Greece for New England tourism. I also said that 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.
In this first follow up post, I want to look at the sources of information that we used to plan the Greek trip, drawing from this some lessons for New England.
Our starting point was the various Lonely Planet and D&K guides. These provided a wealth of material organised in a hierarchy such as Greece, the Greek Islands or very specific destinations such as Athens. They are easy to use and provide integrated material covering a wide variety of topics.
We used these plus our own knowledge to sketch out a preliminary itinerary focused on the Greek islands plus Athens. We then used the web to search out hotels and transport, firming up the itinerary and to make bookings. Choices had to be made. In the end, we chose to fly to Crete, then by jet cat to Santorini, jet cat to Mykonos, ferry to Rhodes and then by plane to Athens. In each place, we had an idea as to what to see.
Upon arrival, we then used the guides plus local maps to visit places and also to select places to eat.
A simple story I know, one that will be familiar to many Australians who have travelled in Europe. Sadly, this type of approach is not presently possible for New England nor, indeed, for most broader regional areas within Australia.
The guides do not exist. The guides that do exist such as the Lonely Planet Australian guide focus on metro areas or on well travelled routes. You cannot use them to plan an equivalent to our Greek holiday focused on New England. So far as the existing guides are concerned, New England does not exist.
Just a simple statistic to put this in perspective. In geographic terms, New England is larger than Greece, containing a variety of environments, each with its own history and special features. Yet the Greek Islands on their own have, by a country mile, more accessible tourism information than the whole of New England, a small Greek island such as Paros more accessible tourism information than most New England centres.
In making this comment, I recognise the tourism attractions of Greece and of the Greek islands. I am not saying that New England can compete at this level. I am simply making the point that the absence of tourist information makes it impossible for New England to compete at any level.