Earlier this year I was selected to be one of 101 people chosen to take part in the Human Brochure tourism concept; VisitCanberra’s latest push to bring new visitors to our lovely city.
As part of the Brochure, all 101 of us were able to invite a couple of guests (number dependant on what category you were in – Adventure, Family Fun, Arts & Culture, Food & Wine) to Canberra for a weekend so we could show them around. The idea was to show off Canberra through the eyes of someone who loves it and knows it well.
I was in the Outdoor and Adventure category, so I got to invite two guests to the Capital. Everyone’s guests were put up in a hotel and each Local Human was allocated an ‘experience’ to take our guests along to. The rest of the weekend was to be filled in with our own activities.
The experience I was allocated was a visit to the AIS. I was a little bit confused because I didn’t really think that a visit to the AIS fit in with the tag ‘Outdoor and Adventure’. Fortunately we did have a nice time. We got to explore the main gym room and test out some equipment. We also got to do some basketball drills with Brad Davidson, former Boomer player, as well as a tour of the facilities and breakfast and lunch in the athletes dining hall. One of my guests even won a basketball singlet signed by Paddy Mills.
I spoke to a few other Local Humans about the weekend and many were really disappointed about the experiences and the accommodation provided as they felt that the treatment of interstate guests was a little unequal and inconsistent. For example, some people were given hot air ballooning or a zoo visit with animal encounters as their experience, while others were given museum tours. Some guests were put up in beautiful new establishments like Hotel Hotel, the Realm, East Hotel, while others were put up at the Quality Hotel in Dickson. In some instances, people actually pulled out of the weekend because their accommodation wasn’t great and their experience wasn’t anything to get excited about. It just wasn’t worth the time and money they would have to put into travelling to Canberra.
A few Local Humans also found it a little off-putting that their experiences did not match up to the groups they were in. In the Family Fun category (two adults plus kids allowed), one group was given a personal training session with the Raiders. Ordinarily this would be a pretty cool experience, but not for little kids. Another group was given a tour of the Portrait Gallery. Again, this is not something that kids would appreciate or have any interest in doing, not to mention what a nightmare it would be for the parents and the museum if the kids started running amok. I feel that more could have been done to match groups up to experiences that better suited them.
Over the course of the weekend, I took my guests go-karting at the Power Kart Raceway in Griffith, for dinner at Italian and Sons, a nice walk around the Kingston Foreshore, lunch at Brodburger and whilst it’s not exclusively Canberra; dessert at Max Brenner. We desperately wanted chocolate! My guests had a good time and really liked Canberra. They commented on how laid back it was and how much politer Canberrans are than Sydneysiders.
I’m looking forward to seeing the ACT’s tourism numbers in the future. While I think it will be difficult to determine whether or not the Human Brochure impacted the numbers, I think the concept of the Brochure is quite clever and unique. I wouldn’t be surprised if cities around the world take Canberra’s lead and hold a Human Brochure of their own.
To see what the Local Humans and their guests got up to over the weekend, check out the Human Brochure website: http://humanbrochure.com.au/