It’s been more than 20 years since Bill Gates declared “content is king”, and much has changed in the social and global market since then. The new edict for 2018 now declares that ‘Context is King[i]’, recognising that user experience is everything in today’s world[ii].
It’s been more than 20 years since Bill Gates declared “content is king”, and much has changed in the social and global market since then. The new edict for 2018 now declares that ‘Context is King[i]’, recognising that user experience is everything in today’s world[ii]. While these maxims are often referred to in terms of general communication principles, the same can be applied to destination marketing and the role and expectation of the consumer in shaping tourism trends and offerings.
Customers are savvier, with unprecedented choice, access to information and feedback from more personal sources than ever before. It’s critical that destination marketers recognise the importance of user generated content and strive to shape their offering and user experiences to build a compelling story that captures tourist attention and spend.
The City of Joondalup and its partners have recognised this shift toward the user experience and are working collaboratively to leverage emerging trends and future growth segments to provide a more comprehensive and personalised experience to visitors.
A collaborative approach to identifying and leveraging trends
Joondalup’s commitment to becoming a “Destination City” where unique tourism opportunities and activities provide drawcards for visitors and high amenity for residents[iii], coupled with picturesque coastal areas and access to natural assets that are in close proximity to the Perth CBD have seen the area boom in recent years. The challenge for Joondalup as a destination is there is not the critical mass of tourism related infrastructure in place to drive the attraction of international visitors. To address this challenge, tourism operators have worked together to identify and develop packages of tourism related opportunities that will enhance the visitor experience in Joondalup and encourage them to spend more time in the area.
Earlier this month a delegation from China’s aged care and aged tourism industry attended the 2018 Innovation: Solutions for an Ageing Population International Conference at Joondalup Resort, developed through collaboration between Shanghai Science and Technology Service Centre for Ageing, Bethanie, Australian Medical Association (WA), Edith Cowan University (ECU), AusGlobal Exchange and the City of Joondalup.
248 million people in China alone will be aged 60 and above by 2020, and this demographic is one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world. Often overlooked, Gen Xers are understood to be the generation with the most money and time to spend on travel, and it’s reported that on average, they will spend $627 on each day of travel[iv]. This is a significant opportunity for the local tourism industry.
Australia-China Tourism Research Network (ACTReNet) is a virtual international research collaboration platform, which brings together researchers in tourism, hospitality, events, leisure and recreation management across Australia and China to collaborate and produce high quality and impactful research outcomes. ACTReNet is hosted by the School of Business and Law at ECU in Joondalup and promotes collaboration between Australia and China-based researchers[v]. Led by Professor Sam Huang, Professor of Tourism Services and Marketing at ECU Joondalup, ACTReNet is an excellent example of the future of tourism strategy.
A strong opportunity to capitalise on the increasing interest in Aboriginal tourism
Aboriginal tourism is one of Western Australia’s strongest future growth segments and a unique point of difference in a highly competitive global market.
Research commissioned earlier this year by Tourism Western Australia in partnership with the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC) [vi] shows that 78% of visitors to WA in 2016-17 expressed an interest in Aboriginal tourism, and this enthusiasm has grown 19% over the past five years. However, participation levels remain low at 21% showing that visitor interest in an Aboriginal activity or experience continues to far outweigh participation, indicating an opportunity to capitalise on the increased interest in Aboriginal tourism.
With the majority of Aboriginal tourism businesses located outside the Perth metropolitan area, there is a need to help meet the growing consumer demand for Aboriginal tourism experiences in close proximity to the Perth CBD.
Tourism WA’s Two-Year Action Plan[vii] calls for greater collaboration between government, funded delivery partners and industry to develop and support more Aboriginal tourism experiences and events. The City of Joondalup is home to Yellagonga Regional Park; a site of cultural significance to the Nyoongar community often referred to as the Kings Park of the North. Opportunities exist to develop Aboriginal guided tourism offerings in Joondalup that could provide visitors with immersive experiences, adding to a more memorable itinerary.
A local economy focused on welcoming and retaining international students
Study Perth has indicated that during 2017, visitors to and within WA spent $9.6 billion in the State[viii]. International students spend more than eight times the average for all holiday visitors, around $13,606 vs $1,694, with the international education sector contributing 35% of all money ($3.974billion) earned from international visitors[ix].
International students introduce their family, friends and networks. They are super tourists, future investors, migrants and trading partners[x]. Each international student attracts 1.49 visiting friends and relatives from overseas with an average spend per visitor at $3,314.
Like the aged tourism sector, international education is a booming segment experiencing continuing growth in markets such as India, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. With internationally-renowned Edith Cowan University (ranked in the World’s top 150 universities under 50 years old[xi]) and North Metropolitan TAFE both based in Joondalup, Perth’s northern corridor is well-placed to host international students, capitalise on the benefits of them studying in the area; and train and produce the next generation of global leaders and professionals.
Long overshadowed by WA’s economically dominant extraction and primary resources industries, tourism provides an important foundation for many sectors in the post-boom economy, both in regional WA and Perth metropolitan area.
WA Local Government Association’s Local Government and Tourism Discussion Paper[xii] states that success in tourism can only happen with true collaboration between all spheres of government, industry, stakeholders and the community. This is a sentiment that seems to be mentioned often but rarely acted upon. Success in tourism takes planning, time and dedication towards a common goal and all local governments, including the City of Joondalup, have a critical role to play.