Tourism held back by Canberrans’ ignorance?

johnboy 23 September 2011 20


Andrew Barr and Federale Tourism Minister Nick Sherry have announced the release of earthshattering research showing tourism to Canberra isn’t all about the clever marketing bods and the hotel industry (only 70% about those things):

Nearly one third of all visitors to the ACT are friends or relatives of those living here, according to Tourism Research Australia’s Perceptions of Tourism in the ACT, released today by the Minister Assisting on Tourism, Senator Nick Sherry, and ACT Deputy Chief Minister, Andrew Barr MLA.

Almost three quarters of ACT residents recommended things to do for their visiting friends and relatives – with museums, memorials, art-based attractions, nature parks and gardens top-of-mind.

By contrast, recommendations to see craft or food markets, dining precincts, cafes within national attractions, wineries, cellar doors and breweries were fewer.

The report recommends targeted campaigns to educate and encourage ACT residents to promote activities that most interest their visitors.

“Friends and relatives visiting from interstate form a lucrative sector of the tourism market, especially in Canberra,” Senator Sherry said.

“What Canberrans view as their city’s best attractions has a big influence on what places their guests visit. A greater appreciation by residents of Canberra’s wider activities will bring benefits to the capital’s local businesses,” Senator Sherry said.

There’s a fascinating implication there that ignorance of other tourism opportunities by you the resident is holding businesses back.

Could the recommendations as made be based on, oh I don’t know, actually having some kind of clue?

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20 Responses to Tourism held back by Canberrans’ ignorance?
farnarkler farnarkler 9:12 pm 25 Sep 11

What amazes me is that there is no tourist information at the airport. Surely if the ACT gov’t can fund the tiny booth in Garema, they can have a volunteer at the airport.

jayskette jayskette 7:41 pm 25 Sep 11

The best “destination” in Canberra is possibly the public service, especially the Tourism Department! Getting paid to state the obvious…

Martlark Martlark 6:44 pm 25 Sep 11

For it’s size Canberra has a huge number of things to go and see. War Memorial, National Museum, Lakes, Carillon, Black Mountain, National Library, Portrait Gallery, Old/New P house, Embassies, High Court, National Gallery and an extensive collection of legal brothels. That’s a few days worth. And as a country town guy the shopping and eating here is pretty damn good compared to non Melb Syd.

Deref Deref 4:48 pm 24 Sep 11

damien haas said :

The telstra tower was also a good place to take a visitor, although I felt paying $7.50 to get in was a bit steep.


Particularly since we paid for it to be built.

damien haas damien haas 4:41 pm 24 Sep 11

Upon further reflection, there is another staggering assumption – that people visit Canberra without having a clue what is here and no existing plans to see things – and Senator Sherry and Mr Barr expect us to educate them.

I dont think I have ever arrived at a friends/relatives place in another city and just expected them to be a trained tour guide.

damien haas damien haas 4:35 pm 24 Sep 11

I took a visiting o/s friend around Canberra for a few days this week. He used to live in Oz and had some specific requests. As he had visited Canberra before – but some years ago, he had some idea about where things were.

We went on a LOTR style hunt for Canberras best meat pie. Conclusion – the Flute Bakery in Fyshwick DEFINITELY had the best meat pie. He wanted Canberras finest ale, Conclusion – Wig and Pen. 2000 not out. Then after three or four we shifted to Velvet Creamy Stout.

He was amazed at the ill-disciplined school kids running around the National Museum, although the cafe there has a very pleasant view, and wasnt too expensive. We thought about a boat cruise as we could see the jetty but were told that even though there is a schedule, we really should ring as sometimes it just doesnt turn up.

The telstra tower was also a good place to take a visitor, although I felt paying $7.50 to get in was a bit steep. Maybe i’m used to getting into too many places like the NMA and War Memorial (note ‘Memorial’ – not child care centre where you let little shits run around screaming) for free.

The other place he wanted to visit was Ivans surplus sporting shirt store. he was impressed it now had a competitor. Im not sure how many of these ‘small’ attractions have made it into Senator Sherrys report.

I-filed I-filed 1:12 pm 24 Sep 11

The federal government makes a big fuss about “disabled access” e.g. for cultural tourism, through the National Arts and Disability Strategy.

An accessibility check on this report brought up 47 accessibility errors. Can’t they put together a web page that meets the government’s own requirements?

Deref Deref 11:38 am 24 Sep 11

Wahhhhhh! Canberra people aren’t taking their friends to see the things that they can see at home! They want to take them to things that are different and interesting!

Call the whambulance!

poetix poetix 11:29 am 24 Sep 11

Have you noticed how people in ads for ‘tourism’ are never actually eating? Just staring at each other, smiling, and lifting wine glasses in the air.

Watson Watson 9:26 am 24 Sep 11

Are politicians that live interstate included in the visitors numbers? If so, why isn’t there a push to get them to go visit boring markets, crappy cafes and overpriced wineries?

This is just such a lazy marketing strategy…

Ryoma Ryoma 11:23 pm 23 Sep 11

I agree with much of what has been said. Firstly, has it not occurred to anyone in the Australian tourism industry (not only Canberra’s) that part of the reason for the large numbers of people visitng friends and family are:

a) that seeing said friends and family are likely to be the purpose of the trip, and also the part which matters the most to people? If you have lots to catch up on, or simply want the anklebiters to get to know their cousins, etc, then having a meal in the backyard, or a BBQ down at the local park, or whatever, is going to be effective at achieving those aims at fairly low cost?

b) that people are sick of feeling the need to “improve themselves” by visiting “national stuff” each time they visit. Don’t get me wrong, I like our actual attractions, and think they do a good job with limited resources, but there are limits to how many times you can take kids under 10 to the National Gallery and Parliament House. Ditto for many of the day trip destinations such as wineries, cafes, and craft markets.

c) and as much, if not more, than the other two – we all get bombarded with sales pitches all day long from any form of media. Part of holidays is being able to actually switch off and escape from the world, and get away from the incessant pressure to consume stuff. Maybe half the point of staying with friends and family is to actually be able to let our guards down, and just “be”, without feeling the need to either actually (or to put on the pretence of) keeping up with the Jones’s (sp?).

Australians are flocking overseas due to our (recently) strong dollar, and because people in other countries seem to focus on other things in life beyond mere consumption. As a result, the culture is more interesting than the lack-of-service culture which appears here from Geelong through to Cairns (although I did find Tassie to be much better, and will return there in future).

I-filed I-filed 8:30 pm 23 Sep 11

Would love to know how many art & craft markets Senator Sherry has visited.

Watson Watson 8:21 pm 23 Sep 11

*The report recommends targeted campaigns to educate and encourage ACT residents to promote activities that most interest their visitors.*

Um… I didn’t know the government had my rellies under surveillance and thus know better than me what they are interested in?

I agree that markets, restaurants and cafes are nothing to be boasted about here. That is what Canberrans themselves travel interstate for.

Bramina Bramina 8:00 pm 23 Sep 11

Tbh, there is just nothing to do in Canberra for visitors except for the obvious museums and stuff. We don’t even have decent shopping.

The tourism advertising might try to dress Canberra up as an exciting place, but people aren’t stupid they can read between the lines…

Personally, I really struggle to think of anything to do when friends and family want to come over. A trip to Bateman’s or Bredbo for the pizza is usually a solution to the problem.

sepi sepi 4:55 pm 23 Sep 11

We’ve taken rellies to Lifeline bookfair – it is a surprise to the uninitiated. Not as cute now that it is at Epci though, instead of crowded into the cute surrounds of Albert hall.

Palifox Palifox 3:22 pm 23 Sep 11

I have suffered bad service in three localities in the past several years. Young, Cowra and in Old Parliament House. In OPH the service was bad and one person present described his meal as “vile”. Someone tells me that the food at the National Library has improved. Would not be hard, the sludge offered at the bottom floor of the Canberra Centre three weeks ago was better than that at the library a few years ago.

Rockhamption Swap meet in July has a far better selection of new and used trash than anything I have seen here. So for that matter has the Eumundi markets near Nambour..

I don’t care two hoots for wine and as far as I know few of my very extended family do either.

Ben_Dover Ben_Dover 2:56 pm 23 Sep 11

A greater appreciation by residents of Canberra’s wider activities will bring benefits to the capital’s local businesses,” Senator Sherry said.

Dear Nanny State,

I will take my visiting friends and relatives to see things which, for me, provide a perspective of, and an enjoyment of, the place where I live, not the “wider activities” which you want them to spend their money on.

A resident.

p1 p1 2:37 pm 23 Sep 11

+1 for recommending my visitors go to the things on the first list (museums, memorials, art-based attractions, nature parks and gardens) and try hard to avoid the second (craft or food markets, dining precincts, cafes within national attractions, wineries, cellar doors and breweries). Although with wineries, cellar doors and breweries, it is not that I wouldn’t recommend them if I thought it would suit the individual and the trip, but generally I can’t see someone hitting Canberra for a few days and thinking a winery tour was the thing to do.

Does Canberra have any Breweries who market themselves to tourists?

Mysteryman Mysteryman 2:07 pm 23 Sep 11

“By contrast, recommendations to see craft or food markets, dining precincts, cafes within national attractions, wineries, cellar doors and breweries were fewer.”

No kidding. Our markets sell junk that most straight men couldn’t care less about, our “dining precincts” are just a collection of restaurants which are certainly no better than those in other cities (and arguably worse – especially when it comes to service). Cafes within national attractions? Really? I will (and do) gladly take people to the attractions themselves – love the galleries and war memorial – but the cafes tend to be pricey with very average food. Of course I’m not going to recommend them.

Good to know that the government is blaming us, though.

harvyk1 harvyk1 1:50 pm 23 Sep 11

“with museums, memorials, art-based attractions, nature parks and gardens top-of-mind.” I’ll be honest, if I’m visiting another city, these are typically the things I’ll seek out.

As for

craft or food markets – How is what we have any different from the markets selling crap in any other city?

dining precincts – I’d say if 30% of visitors are here to meet with friends \ family, dinners at home is probably going to be the order of the day with maybe a dinner at a restaurant on one of the nights. That said dining precincts is oftan codewords for “expensive”, and thus if people visiting here are anything like me when I visit other cities I’ll avoid such places.

cafes within national attractions – If there is one universal truth, they almost always sell substandard food, at inflated prices, and usually out of view of the attractions themselves.

wineries, cellar doors and breweries – Not so good when friends bring the family… You won’t find too many 10 year olds who appreciate going from winery to winery…

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