In my previous comments to the Whyalla News, said Mr Ron Hay President of the Whyalla Chamber, I touched on tourism and the economic benefits that are brought back to our community.
To write this article, I thought I would do a search and try to define tourism (including visitors), so that I could attempt to align that with what we observe taking place in our community.
As expected said Mr Hay, there is a raft of website pages offering very similar definitions of tourism and also highlighting what constitutes a visitor.
Tourism, as we all know is defined as an ‘Industry’, which provides goods and services to those who are defined as tourists. That is those who may be regarded as here for leisure and out of their normal environment, said Mr Hay.
However, other definitions of persons coming into your community also come into the mix and they are travelers and visitors. Confused? Well at least it brings us to the point of maybe trying to understand who comes into our community and why, said Mr Hay.
My interpretation of each type of person, based on the material available is as follows. A tourist is a person, whose activity is associated with touring and traveling for pleasure. A traveler could be someone who is passing through this community to another destination, and a visitor, may be someone who is coming to see friends and family, or may be a business representative taking part in a commercial activity.
To try and draw a common thread that is relevant to us as a community I draw the following conclusion. At the end of the day we should not try to tailor our offer to what may be perceived as different markets. We need to provide all visitors to our community with a very positive experience of being here, and that they feel welcome, said Mr Hay.
In my view, this means talking up our community in a positive way, providing excellent service and products from our retail, services and hospitality outlets, understanding the communities attributes and knowing what we have to offer, for people to visit and see.
As individuals we need to feel pride in our community and when tourists, travellers and visitors come here, the impression and experience we give them must be a positive one.
Mr Hay said for example, our foreshore area and the way it is now looking with the palm trees, the lawns, children’s playground and kiosk area, is a real focal point for this community and those who come into it.
Not only is it a place for us, as residents to go, but it offers a fantastic area for other activities such as our Australia Day event, small concerts and the like.
In addition said Mr Hay, some of our other attractions like our Visitor’s information Centre, which includes the HMAS Whyalla and the display area, showcasing our rich industrial past and heritage and Hummock Hill and its role during the Second World War, all offer a snapshot of our history and our community.
The greening of some of our main thoroughfares is taking place and changing the look of this city, said Mr Hay. When I came to Whyalla from Scotland back in the early 60’s, I can recall there was a lot of bushland in the areas we now know as Westland Shopping Centre, Westland Hotel, the Bennett Oval and a greater land west of these.
At this point in time, we are witnessing the upgrade of both our major shopping precincts (City Plaza and Westland Shopping Centre) and the operation of our newly upgraded Whyalla Hospital and the Specialised Health Services which now operate from this, said Mr Hay. All of these will attract groups of people to our city for different periods and needs and with it some level of spending in our community.
What our city looks like, what we have to offer, our industry, retail, services and hospitality sectors all play a very big role in how tourists, visitors and travelers perceive this community and more importantly, how long they stay, what they spend and if they will return, said Mr Hay.
The economic benefits to this community can be tremendous, which in turn may lead to increased employment, investment and greater prosperity within the community.
Our focus said Mr Hay, is to make certain that we have high standards, are consistent in what we do, provide excellent service from all of our sectors and create a future where tourists, travelers and visitors, all want to come back and enjoy what we have to offer