The Beagle Editor, With the end of the summer tourism season upon us it is time to reflect on effectiveness of our collective tourism campaigns and measure performance. It is understood that Eurobodalla Tourism is under new leadership and that there will need to be elements put in place to measure the effectiveness of new approaches. But how do we measure and what is available to measure. Your readers might be interested in our latest media release on the mysteries of tourism …
One of the challenges for those interested in the recent tourism debate, sparked by the sudden & dramatic ‘family breakdown’ between Sapphire Coast Tourism (SCT) & Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC), resulting in SCT's decision to wind-up the company on June 30th, is knowing which of the many claims & numbers being thrown about are actually accurate.
The BVSRRA has always based its analysis of the tourism sector on the statistics published on BVSC's website. According to the website, those statistics are provided by an organisation call id & are sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) & the National Institute of Economic and industry Research (NIEIR).
The BVSRRA has used these statistics in an attempt to foster public debate about the management of the tourism sector, believing that BVSC would also use that same data in reviewing/analysing SCT’s activities/performance & make it more accountable for its performance.
Up to very recently, the BVSRRA was not aware that SCT used different sources of data, including Tourism Research Australia, to inform its knowledge & understanding of the sector & it can only wonder how BVSC & SCT could ever arrive at a consensus on anything, given they use different sources of information.
In the interests of trying to bring more clarity to the debate, this week the BVSRRA decided to examine the claims being made by SCT, its current Chair & at least one past board member by attempting to confirm these with the source of the alleged supporting data.
SCT, its Chair & at least one past member of its board have made a number of public claims regarding the organisation’s alleged success in driving the development of the sector in the Bega Valley, including that tourist visitation nights have grown by 5% & tourism spending has grown by 12% since 2013.
In considering those claims, the BVSRRA could not be certain as to whether SCT was referring to data for financial years or calendar years, so it explored both by contacting Tourism Research Australia (TRA).
According to TRA data, tourist visitation nights dropped by 16.4% over the 2013/2014 to 2016/2017 financial years or 17.3% over the 2013 to 2017 calendar years, which is significantly at odds with SCT’s claims.
When it comes to tourism expenditure, TRA confirmed that the only publicly available data is that published in the Local Government Area Profiles (LGA), with the numbers reported being the average of the actual annual expenditure over the previous four years.
Given the fact that the actual expenditure figures for each of the four years to 2016 are not available, it is simply not possible to validate SCT’s claim in that regard, although it should be highlighted that TRA did confirm that the Profile for 2017 has still not been completed
The full text of this Media Release is available here … http://www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association---Media-Release---on-the-mysteries-of-tourism---27.04.2018.pdf
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association