Tourism Strategy & Performance Update


We are 4 months in to the delivery of projects within the 5-year tourism strategy Indigo Destination Game Changer 2023. Check out the full strategy online here(PDF, 3MB)

The latest projects rolling out include:

  • Project One – Beechworth Historic Precinct Investment

    Progress snapshot

    A funding application for the Historic Precinct Masterplan is currently with Regional Development Victoria. Post-election there has been some ministerial changes and assessment of grant programs, so we hope to see the application progress during the first 3 months of 2019.
    Development of the detailed masterplan for the Beechworth Historic Precinct is scheduled to commence before the end of June 2019 and will seek to activate each building within the precinct, tell the authentic stories connected to the buildings, 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

    Progress snapshot

    Construction has begun on the first stage of the Rail Trail.  The trail and planning is underway for the subsequent seven sections. The full extension is due to be completed by the end of 2021. 
    You can get involved by attending a community information session. Sessions during 2019 will be publicised here.  A project reference group will also be formed. To join the reference group please contact us on or 1300 365 003.

  • Project Thirteen - Short Walks with a Story

    Progress snapshot

    Our ‘Short Walks with a Story’ Walks Guide was release before Christmas and has been well received by visitors to our Visitor Information Centres and regional information centres.  The next phase is to ensure all 40 walks are mapped on our town websites.  This will be completed by mid-February 2019.
    The Indigo Short Walks with a Story printed Walks Guide aims to ensure Indigo gets maximum value from the regional Walk High Country campaign. We want to showcase our walks in print and online.  The Walks Guide will be supported by Walks pages on all of the explore(townname) websites with maps and interpretive information. We are currently working to get all 40 walks listed on each of our own websites, with further developments to include; rich map ‘overlays’ showing key attractions and walking tracks and trails, a mobile itinerary map function showing more points of interest, facilities and experiences along the tracks and trails and the development of website content showcasing the rich stories behind the walks and the locations.  Once all this has been achieved we will begin to add more walks to our offering.

  • Project 51 – Develop Digital Content

Progress snapshot

Council’s objective to increase the depth and richness of our online tourism content, and to increase the online audience so we can motivate and inspire more people to visit our destinations, kicked off with the Digital Excellence Partnership program last year. Tourism businesses have taken up the partnership with enthusiasm and listings have grown from 104 in October 2018 to almost 250 in January 2019.  All tourism businesses are encouraged to get involved. Please contact Clare in the tourism team for assistance. 
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. Our aim is to showcase every tourism business in Indigo and deliver rich and motivating content every season on all 4 town websites. 

Our aim is to have the best destination town websites in Victoria.      

Please check out the latest Digital Dashboard(PDF, 159KB) report for your explore(townname) website performance results.

  • Project 50 – Streamline Rutherglen Branding, Visitor Servicing and Destination Marketing Delivery

    Progress snapshot

    Council is working with key Rutherglen tourism destination management stakeholders (Destination Rutherglen, Winemakers of Rutherglen and Tourism North East) to review the structure of Destination Management in the Rutherglen area. The objective is to ensure a tourism and destination management model is in place to deliver optimal results for Rutherglen’s visitor economy into the future. 
    Tom Smith from MIA Tourism has been engaged to conduct the review.  Workshops, interviews and consultation will commence in April. 

  • Project 54 – Data mining

    Progress snapshot

    We have access to more information about our visitors and our destinations’ tourism than ever before.  Council is investing in cost efficient, but sophisticated reporting to better measure how our visitors are behaving and how our visitor economy is performing, so we are able to review and recalibrate tourism strategy, measure performance and allocate resources and budget. 
    At this time we have access to Tourism Research Australia data and online Google Analytics data.  We also collect information from Indigo’s Visitor Information Centres.  In February we will receive the first of our PAVE reports, giving us a visitation, expenditure and economic breakdown at town level across our 4 key tourism areas.  In addition we are investigating spend mapping data to give us hard data on what, when and where our visitors are spending money, where these visitors are coming from and how events and other activities are influencing the visitor economy.

  • Other projects underway:
    • Project 5 – Beechworth to Yackandandah Mountain Bike Trail
      • Funding application with government for consideration
    • Project 28 – Muscat Destination Brand Project
      • Council participation in working group
    • Project 24 – Rutherglen Wine Cycle Loop
      • Funding application to scope the loop now with government for consideration


Visitation to Indigo


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.
    • Regional visitation figures for the year ending September 2018 have just been released, showing that our region has experienced strong visitation growth. During this period, the High Country attracted 3.75 million visitors who generated $1.145 billion in spend - both up 17% from the previous year. This increase has been fuelled by strong growth in domestic visitation, particularly the region’s valuable overnight market which grew 7% in terms of visitors and 9% in terms of total spend.  Our region’s growth outstrips Regional Victoria visitation and yield growth.   For more detail check out the latest High Country Travel Snapshot.(PDF, 436KB)
  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.
    • Our inaugural PAVE report will be delivered in February 2019.
  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. 
    • Council uses the REMPLAN system for ongoing economic reporting.
  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.  
    • Our inaugural TSI report will be released in February 2019.
  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. 
    • Council are currently assessing the value of Spendmapp and potential investment in this performance measurement system.
  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. 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).
  • Please check out the VIC visitation reports in our April and October Quarterly Updates.



  • Quarterly, Tourism North East 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, Brewery Campaign, Walk High Country Research, Arts and Cultural Tourism Action Plan, Human Capital Review Project,   Chinese New Melbournian Resident and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) Research, a digital update and PR Media.

  • Check out the Indigo-specific Quarterly TNE report here.(PDF, 7MB)