10 Year Strategic Tourism Plan
The Riverland is home to an established tourism industry of over 400 visitor experiences, with a diverse array of tourism experiences on offer, centred around the magnificent hero experience of the Murray River, featuring its red cliffs, big red gums, clear night skies and colourful, reflective sunrise and sunsets over tranquil waterways.
The Riverland’s ‘Murray River’ is a base for a wide range of outdoor experiences for people wanting to connect with nature and wildlife or have active adventures like bushwalking, fishing, boating, kayaking, birdwatching and water-skiing.
The Riverland is the food and wine bowl of South Australia with large areas of irrigated fertile soil producing fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, unique beers and ciders, plus innovative cellar door, brewery and distillery experiences.
The Region’s rich heritage is the supporting experience for visitors and is what make the Riverland unique to other parts of the Murray River. While the Region’s indigenous experiences are growing, there is a rich collection of Post European settlement stories of the early paddle steamers era, innovative pioneering farming settlers, Lock development, world wars, floods and post-war soldier settlers can be explored by visitors through Riverland towns, pubs, trails, walks, drives, museums, paddle steamers and wharfs.
To capitalise on the great potential of the Region, Destination Riverland (the region's Regional Tourism Organisation) spearheaded the engagement of a committee with representatives from all visitor economy stakeholders whom engaged us to work with key stakeholders to develop a collaborative 10-year Tourism Plan for the Region to increase visitor expenditure, regional employment and tourism visitation.
I cannot recommend Tourism E-School highly enough! I am proud of the work that we have done together and confident in it’s application to grow Riverland Tourism over the next decade.
Destination Riverland commissioned Tourism E-School in 2019 following an exhaustive tender process to develop the Riverland Tourism Plan 2030 (RTP2030). In early 2020, Tourism eSchool started an extensive program of consultation in community and on line began in earnest only to be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the whole process Rebecca and Paige were wonderfully adaptive, clear and timely in their communication and the final plan produced, despite the interruption of COVID, was outstanding.
In order to deliver the outcomes for this Project, the Project methodology was divided into two distinct Stages:
- Destination Situation Analysis 2020 – which will highlight the state of play for tourism in the Riverland. This document will remain an internal piece for key stakeholders reference when reading the Tourism Plan.
- Riverland Tourism Plan 2030 – which will be an opportunistic planning framework based on insights from the Situation Analysis, as well as a detailed action plan which will take into consideration the recommendations from Project 1, to drive growth for the Riverland’s visitor economy.
Destination Situation Analysis
In order to develop a relevant and reliable long-term 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 5 in-destination workshops, an Online Survey and numerous 1:1 individual meetings.
In total, we consulted over 150 tourism stakeholders in the region, and across the State and some interstate stakeholders in Victoria to get a clear understanding of the current state of play for the Region.
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 glogbal tourism industry, we weren't able to get a clear picture of the opportunities for the Region until the dust had settled.
After a short delay, we re-consulted and delivered a comprehensive Situation Analysis which then informed the development of the 2030 Plan.
^ Stakeholder Engagement Workshop at Loxton
Plan Development, Delivery and Adoption
Once we had established a detailed situation analysis of the Region, we could then combine these insights with our own knowledge and expertise to develop the Draft 2030 Plan.
Presentations to Key Stakeholders
Whilst Destination Riverland are the custodians of the Plan, the actions within the Plan were relevant for many key stakeholders within the Region. Therefore it was imperative that these stakeholders were briefed on the Draft Plan, and had a chance to offer feedback and comment. This process was extremely beneficial and resulted in an improved outcome for the Project.
After a delay in November 2020 due to a COVID19 Circuit Breaker lockdown, we facilitated 3 community presentations in the Riverland in February 2021to launch the new Plan. We were excited to have over 150 industry representatives attend these community events.
^ Plan Presentation Event at Barmera, February 2021
After finalising the Riverland Tourism Plan 2030 in mid October 2020, and launching the Plan to industry in February 2021, the following projects have been initiated already:
Establishment of an Implementation Committee for the Plan
Given the Plan is a whole of region plan (not just a plan for the RTO) a key project was the establishment of a implementation committee that will drive the implementation of the actions with the Plan. This Committee is made up of representatives from all major players in the visitor economy.
Brand Riverland Project
A key project in the Plan was the development and implementation of a new Brand for the region. This project will be the first major achievement for the Implementation committee, with planning well underway to get this project implemented by end of FY21.
Visitor Servicing Discussion Paper
One of the key opportunities for the Riverland was to better align their their visitor servicing investment with the visitor personas for the region. We worked with Destination Riverland to build on the information collected in the Situation Analysis to scope out a Visitor Servicing Discussion Paper for Councils to consider a way forward for their collective investment in visitor servicing across the region.
Winner at SA Tourism Awards!
Destination Riverland were also awarded as the Winner of the Best Tourism Marketing Campaign for 2022 at the SA Tourism Awards! Destination Riverland worked with campaign strategists CommShake to plan and implement the award winning activation, with strategic guidance from the Riverland Tourism Plan 2030.