THE first tourism destination marketing plan for Gloucester will focus on the region as a low-cost adventure-based holiday location.

Tourism manager Wendy Hughes said the plan would present the historical community of Stroud as a ‘gateway’ to Gloucester and the Barrington Tops, while the continuing growth of the day-tripper market would also be a focus.

The latest Tourism Research Australia figures for the Gloucester Shire show tourism generates about $30 million per annum, but this figure does not include income from day trippers or international visitors.

It means, in terms of dollar value, Gloucester lags behind areas like Dungog and Walcha as a tourism destination.

“The unfortunate thing about the figures is that they’re based on random surveys at airports and via the phone,” Mrs Hughes said.

“Unless you get that critical mass you can’t get the information.

“But you only have to look at the main street of a weekend to know our day-tripper market is huge.”

The same data indicates the most popular activities for visitors to the region were bushwalking (22 per cent or two and a half times the State average), picnics and barbecues (14 per cent or two times the State average) and eating out (31 per cent or half the State average).

Mrs Hughes said statistics were only so useful when it came to painting an accurate picture of who was visiting the area.

“The statistics collected by our accommodation providers and those collected by the cafes for instance are streets apart,” she said.

She said that part of the marketing plan was developing a list of key assets – the town’s proximity to the Barrington Tops being the obvious leader.

“Our focus is that we’re a low-cost, adventure-based location,” she said.

Discussions between tourism providers and Tourism Advancing Gloucester (TAG) have identified some key initiatives that could help attract more visitors to the region.

They include more sporting events, a focus on motorbike rallies and charity runs and greater opportunities to explore the region’s gold mining and timber cutting heritage.

Among the values identified during preliminary discussions on the new destination marketing plan were the region’s scenic drives, rivers and productive farming valleys; the town’s village atmosphere and friendly people and its many gourmet cafes and the growing number of wineries.

“The hope is that this plan will help us get improved infrastructure and improved marketing capabilities. Unfortunately, both those things require dollars.”

Mrs Hughes said branding was a key part of ensuring a region’s potential as a tourist location.

Currently Gloucester has the platypus logo with the slogan ‘Gloucester Base Camp – Barrington Tops’.

“We use to have three mountains and a tree, but everyone’s got that,” Mrs Hughes said.

“The platypus recognises our Aboriginal heritage and our pristine waterways.

“Consistency in branding is so important and you need that point of difference to stand out from the rest.”

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