Last week M&G presented our Value Added: Economic value of cultural facilities research at the Local Government NSW Tourism conference in Bathurst. It was a great opportunity to talk to a non-arts based audience about how museums and galleries actively contribute to visitor economies.
Tourism expenditure in the museums, galleries and performing arts centres of the Evocities (Albury, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Bathurst, Orange, Armidale and Tamworth) contributes, on average, $2.5 million to each of their local economies. In addition over $517,000 in household income in each of their Local Government Areas is generated, as well as the creation of four full-time positions in their non-cultural economies.
Given that positive report card, the conference explored all things tourism, talking not just marketing and strategic planning, but also about how arts and cultural development can support regional tourism aims and bolster community capital. Bathurst showcased its own tourism beautifully, and treated delegates to welcome drinks at the National Motor Racing Museum and conference pre-dinner drinks at the sparkle of the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum. There were walking tours and historic high points to savour, and as usual the volunteers did themselves proud.
But one of the most useful sessions of the conference was the problem solving panel. Three LGAs presented real life scenarios; examples of projects which had presented challenges either in their planning or in execution. Forbes Council wanted to know how they could have generated better public support for the placement of the Dogman and Rabbitgirl sculpture in the town centre. Griffith asked for solutions in how to get local businesses more involved with tourism needs, and Kuring-gai Council wanted to know the best approach to making St Ives a tourism precinct.
Three industry experts then outlined a solution to each of the LGA scenarios. The fun bit came when the audience acted as judge and jury on those solutions, voting for their favourite ideas and strategies. The overall winner was Forbes Council, who pocketed prize money of $3000 as well as a bunch of entertaining and creative solutions presented from all panellists. The key outcome of the session was to use clear and simple promotional messages which contain desirable outcomes, like ‘creative places provide more and better jobs’.
These discussions in turn focused delegates towards solving their own problems by addressing what can be easily achieved first. The importance of getting back to basics was a key message in problem solving and in tourism promotion.
So we’ve got a quick quiz for you:
- Does your local Visitor Information Centre know that you’re there?
- Have you invited Visitor Centre staff to drop by for a cup of tea and a free tour?
- Have you asked them how to best promote your museum, gallery or Aboriginal keeping place to tourists?
No? Then you have homework to do. Go and talk to them today to find out what kind of information they need to promote your organisation more effectively.
Let them know you’re there.
For more about the Dogman and Rabbitgirl scupltures, see the Gillie and Marc artists website.
Read more about Forbes sculpture project? See this Parkes Champion-Post article.