The City of Albany has embarked on the initial phase of a market research campaign focused on developing a tourism brand for Albany.
Among the first to be involved in the campaign are visitors flying back to Perth from Albany, who are being surveyed on their experiences.
The city has recently taken over the tourism commission, and wants to lift the profile of Albany as a destination through marketing.
City of Albany CEO Andrew Hammond said it was very unusual for a local government to get involved in the tourism industry.
“We thought it was necessary because we want to attract high level tourism operators to the city,” he said.
“It is not a case of build it and they will come; we have to demonstrate a sustainable marketing strategy to attract the private sector, and we want to be in the top three visitor destinations in WA within five years.”
Mr Hammond said the campaign’s goal was to brand Albany as an outright destination, similar to the way Margaret River and Broome had been marketed.
“We believe we have more to offer. We have the wines, the beaches and a lovely city full of heritage buildings,” he told WA Business News.
The city is also looking to attract a major hotel operator to a parcel of land adjacent to the site of the proposed $40 million waterfront redevelopment project recently approved by state cabinet.
Owner of Albany Leading Edge Hi Fi, and a member of the Albany City Council, Dennis Wellington, said there were several prime sites available for development.
“We really need to take on tourism and start to provide things for people of a different ilk coming to Albany with money to spend,” Mr Wellington said.
“The identity of people from this part of the world is being from Albany, and that is the brand we will be selling, rather than a region.”
Mr Wellington said Albany had recently joined the National Seachange taskforce and was trying to avoid errors other towns had made in dealing with growing populations.
“We are one of the last cabs off the rank when it comes to seachange, but it is certainly happening. There is almost a 3 per cent growth rate per year, which translates to roughly 1,000 people a year, which is a good sustainable level of growth,” Mr Wellington said.
“There has been a reasonably intangible change in mentality of the people here and they are now looking for progress and wanting things to happen.
“Money begets money and there is so much possibility here.”
As part of the National Seachange Taskforce, funding will be sought from the Federal Government to aid infrastructure funding.
“The problem with creating land for people is that it only covers about 70 per cent of the costs of putting people in there, and we don’t have the rate base to outlay the money initially, so are always playing catch-up,” Mr Wellington said.