Tourism Strategy & Performance Update

2018-2023 Tourism Strategy

Strategy Update

The new 5-year tourism strategy was adopted by Council at the August meeting alongside the new Economic Development Strategy. You can read the final strategy online here(PDF, 3MB)

We have begun the delivery of projects from the implementation plan, with a number of actions started across Indigo Shire since the adoption of the Strategy.

  • Project One – Beechworth Historic Precinct Investment. We are applying for funding via Regional Development Victoria for the development of a detailed masterplan for the Beechworth Historic Precinct. The project will consider how to activate each building and the authentic stories connected to the buildings, to inspire new visitation and drive dispersal throughout the rest of the Shire, through connected stories.   It will also deliver a blueprint for the precinct, protecting its heritage values and identifying how to better define the sense of place and the  essential amenities for community and visitors within and adjacent to the precinct.  The study will look at how to ‘frame’ the precinct, connect its elements, define its boundaries, create a sense of arrival and departure and deliver a sense of logical progression and navigation for the visitor, and importantly create a more enticing community space.
  • Project Three - Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail. Construction has begun on the first stage of the Rail Trail and planning is underway for the subsequent seven sections. The extension is due to be completed by the end of 2021.  
  • Project Thirteen - Short Walks with a Story. In September we began developing our Short Walks with a Story printed guide.  To ensure Indigo gets maximum value from the regional Walk High Country campaign, we wanted to showcase our walks in print and online.  The Walks Guide will be supported by Walks pages on all of the websites with maps and interpretive information. The Beechworth page is now live, and the Short Walks of Beechworth were featured in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Traveller in September.  We are currently working with Chiltern Tourism & Development and Destination Rutherglen to audit and map their short walks and add this content along with Yackandandah to each website.    
  • Project 51 – Develop Digital Content. The launch of the Digital Excellence Partnership in September aims to improve the digital content on all 4 of the sites by connecting every tourism business with town websites and waiving the listing fee for eligible businesses. This has resulted in an increase of ATDW listings from 104 to 127 live listings in less than 2 months – a promising start.  Our aim is to showcase every tourism business in Indigo and deliver rich and motivating content every season on all 4 town websites.  We have engaged the specialist digital team at Tourism North East to create fresh and beautiful seasonal content for each website, with content ideas, images and video supplied by Indigo’s tourism team in consultation with each town’s local tourism association and/or visitor information centre staff.  Our aim is to have the best destination town websites in Victoria.  


Research and Projects

The Accommodation/AirBnB Review was presented to Council at its September meeting. The report discussed the changes in the short stay tourism accommodation sector in Indigo Shire, due to market forces and digital disruption, and how this sector is regulated. 

The report indicated that currently most operators in Indigo Shire are compliant with current legislation governing tourist accommodation under the Acts administered by Council; the Victorian Food Act, the Public Health and Wellbeing Act and the Victorian Building Act. As a result of the report, Council resolved to continue to administer and enforce the current legislation relating to commercial accommodation, provide input into the State Government review of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, and consider the classification of accommodation businesses as a specific item in the next review of the Council Rating Strategy.

You can read the report in the Agenda of the September Council Meeting here

Visitation to Indigo

How well are we doing? 

We are very serious about measuring performance and using hard data as a basis for decision making for tourism across the shire and at the local area level. We will share all the outcomes with you.  The information will indicate what is working and what isn’t, and provide informed evaluation (and recalibration) of strategy and where to focus resources and budget to best grow the visitor economy:

  1. Quarterly National Visitor and International Visitor Survey (NVS and IVS).  This data is produced by Tourism Research Australia (TRA). The NVS/IVS research data is used by most destinations across Australia. It is a reliable measure of growth or decline of visitation and yield, however does not provided local area level data (such as Rutherglen Area, Beechworth Area, Chiltern Area or Yackandandah Area) and is considered a partial measure as it does not measure younger visitors (under the age of 14), international day-trippers to Indigo and holiday home visitors.
  2. Bi-annual PAVE reporting.  The PAVE tourism reporting system provides a more holistic representation of visitation at Shire level and at local area level.  We will be able to provide Rutherglen Area, Beechworth Area, Chiltern Area and Yackandandah Area visitor results for the first time.  The data is drawn from local level accommodation data, ABS Surveys of occupancy rates, and NVS data.
  3. Annual REMPLAN reporting.  The economic value of tourism is measured for Local Government through the REMPLAN system, which gives economic output and jobs as the measure of the size of the visitor economy. 
  4. Annual Tourism Sentiment Index from Destination Think measures word of mouth, the predominant influence on travel decision making. It is a powerful way to monitor the success of our destinations.  For the first time we can measure how many people are talking about us, how positive the conversation is and how we stack up against destinations we would like to compare ourselves to. Data is drawn from millions of online conversations and more than 500,000 different sources.  
  5. Spendmapp from Geographia measures real bank transaction data across different spend categories, locations and times.  It gives hard data on which to measure direct economic impact and movement. We hope to confirm Spendmapp in early 2019.
  6. Quarterly Google Analytics provides full website and social media measurement showing online visitation and engagement on our 4 tourism websites and social media. The data is a valuable indicator of destination awareness, destination online performance, consumer’ interest and campaign outcomes.
  7. Quarterly Visitor Information Centre’s (VIC) visitation data is collected daily and reported on monthly.  The data shows numbers of walk-in visitors, phone and email contacts and indicates how our visitors are utilising the information services we provide.   VIC data alone does not indicate overall visitation, but it is an indicator and valuable qualitative information is provided by VIC staff (who is visiting, where are they from, where are they going, what are they interested in, how are they changing year to year).

We will provide the first of our full performance snapshots to you in the next Quarterly update.

Regional Update

Quarterly, TNE provides a report to Indigo Shire on all of the regional activities that Indigo Shire Council invests in, and the key deliverables for those projects.

This quarter’s report provides an update on the Ride High Country Campaign, Feast High Country Campaign and Feast High Country Festival, Walk High Country Campaign, Arts and Cultural Heritage Research and a digital update.

Check out the Indigo-specific Quarterly TNE report here.(PDF, 3MB)

Visitor Servicing Update

This quarter the Burke Museum and Historic Precinct launched a new ticketing system that is allowing us to sell, scan and track visitor behaviour in a way that we haven’t been able to before. Combined with the simplification of ticket options, this is creating a streamlined visitor experience and has resulted in a positive revenue increase of 11% this quarter compared to the same period in 2017.