Limestone Coast Tourism Region
Destination Tourism + Marketing Plan 2025
The Limestone Coast, located in the South East of South Australia, is known for its clean, green and pristine credentials. It’s one of Australia’s natural icons, home to phenomenal world renown geological landscapes, which set the foundation for a thriving primary industries sector which underpins the visitor economy in the region.
The Limestone Coast is home to an established tourism industry of over 750 visitor experiences, with welcoming, visitor-focused town and communities offering accommodation, dining, retail, cultural and historical attractions and visitor information centres.
The Region is a geological and historical paradise with its hero experiences centred around the natural landscapes of volcanoes, craters, lakes, caves, sinkholes, swaps, ancient coastline and forests. These include Naracoorte Caves (SA’s only World Heritage Site), Mount Gambier's Blue Lake, Umpherston Sinkhole, Piccaninnie Ponds and Ghost Mushroom Lane. Cave diving/snorkelling, fishing, coastal 4wding and birdwatching are niche interest activities driving visitation to the Region.
The Coonawarra is the Region’s hero wine region, along with Padthaway, Cape Jaffa, Mt Benson and Mount Gambier offer a growing number of cellar door experiences, while there is a growing regional dining scene.
These hero experiences are underpinned by a thriving agricultural industry, a strong calendar of events and a cultural and historical melting pot which permeates each and every experience in the Region.
To capitalise on the great potential of the Region, the Limestone Coast Local Government Association (LCLGA) engaged us to develop a 5 years Destination Tourism + Marketing Plan to identify opportunities to drive growth for the Region's visitor economy.
The overarching goal for the Plan was to increase tourism visitation, expenditure, employment and development to the Region.
To achieve this Goal, we identified a number of objectives that the Plan would support, including:
- Improve regional storytelling
- Encourage repeat visitation
- Increase number of sustainable tourism jobs
- Identify strategic marketing campaigns and prioritising where to invest marketing resources
- Create a framework template that can be used by each Council to create a Tourism Plan for their Council area that will provide consistency across the region
^ Stakeholder Engagement Workshop at Naracoorte
Destination Situation Analysis
In order to develop a relevant and reliable Plan for the region, it was essential to undertake a comprehensive Situation Analysis. This gave us a birds eye view of the state of play, which then helped to identify where the major opportunities were for the Region.
The methodology used to gather the information to inform the Situation Analysis was three-fold, comprising of in-destination workshops, an Online Survey and numerous 1:1 individual meetings.
With 7 LGAs in the region, it was important to get across to all major towns in the region, and as a result we consulted nearly 200 tourism stakeholders in the region, and across the State and interstate stakeholders in regional Victoria.
Adding complexity to this part of the project was the unprecedented advent of COVID-19. We managed to get all of our in-destination workshops completed just prior to when the first National lockdown measures were put in place in mid-March 2020.
Given the circumstances with COVID-19, and it's impact on the global tourism industry, we weren't able to get a clear picture of the opportunities for the Region until the dust had settled.
Plan Development, Delivery and Adoption
Once we had established a detailed situation analysis of the Region, and had some reliable insights and better understanding of the management of COVID (from a Government perspective), we could then combine these insights with our own knowledge and expertise to develop the Draft Plan. The Plan was presented to industry in mid November 2020 via two online webinars, and finalised and rolled out from early 2021.
Due to the many actions and opportunities in the Plan, and Plan Snapshot and Checklists were rolled out to support Industry and Community support and activation of the Plan.
^ Stakeholder Engagement Workshop at Bordertown
Since the Plan was endorsed by the Limestone Coast LGA Board, the Tourism Management Committee (custodians of the Plan) began implementation.
Some of the key projects currently underway include:
- Establishment of Social Media accounts on Facebook and Instagram and investment in to management of a strategic social media and content strategy, aligned with the region's Ideal Customers and Niche Interest Markets and Segments. (Tourism eSchool set up and are currently managing these accounts on behalf of LCLGA)
- Development of a brand new destination website for the region (there has never been a whole of region tourism website for the Limestone Coast). (Tourism eSchool project managed the build of this Website and wrote all of the content thus far)
- Investment in storytelling for publishing on the new destination website (written by Tourism eSchool)