Albany tourism businesses explore region’s marketing potential while still recovering from pandemic

Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
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Local operators Busy Blue Bus' Susan McCabe, The Beach House at Bayside's Sally Pullin and Down Under Discoveries' Chelle Fisher with Amazing South Coast's Peter Grigg and Tourism WA's Cory Gale.
Camera IconLocal operators Busy Blue Bus' Susan McCabe, The Beach House at Bayside's Sally Pullin and Down Under Discoveries' Chelle Fisher with Amazing South Coast's Peter Grigg and Tourism WA's Cory Gale. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

South coast tourism operators took a “deep dive” into Tourism WA’s Statewide marketing narrative at workshops in Albany and Denmark last week.

Tourism WA’s Our Story: The Spirit of Adventure project aims to help WA develop a strong tourism brand and has already been used as the platform for the Wander out Yonder campaign.

Chelle Fisher, of Down Under Discoveries, said many tourism operators were still recovering from the pandemic.

“It was interesting from a tour operator’s perspective because we’re in a pivoting stage at the moment, where we are having to recreate experiences targeted at locals to convince them to get out their back door,” she said.

“I think many locals think they are well educated about the region but when they start digging down and talking about different places, it’s quite clear some locals don’t know everything in their backyard.”

Ms Fisher said business had been quiet after lockdown.

“It’s been hard to convince people that they’ll have a different experience when they come on board with us, so we are working with The Amazing South Coast and others to work out how to market the region,” she said

“We have been forced to create more unique experiences and really get behind our storytelling about them as well.”

Tourism WA strategy, brand and marketing services executive director Mollie Hill said the deep-dive sessions across WA had generated some “incredible feedback”.

“We know it has been a challenging time for tourism and so it’s critical for our industry to align and collaborate to get the best results,” she said.

Despite the extraordinary times, the Tourism WA workshops came after a positive July school-holiday season for the region.

Local accommodation providers and wineries reported an influx of WA tourists during the winter holidays.

At the Albany Visitor Centre, accommodation bookings rose to 86 compared with 28 bookings last season.

Visitation at the National Anzac Centre rose by 40 per cent between June 29 and July 12, with 2385 people through the doors, compared to 1771 last year.

The Beach House at Bayside’s Sally Pullin said the south coast had plenty to be proud of.

“You can choose from hundreds of beaches and pretty much have the place to yourself, but still enjoy that barefoot luxury experience of returning to great accommodation and indulging in world-class food and wine at the end of the day,” she said.

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