21 August 2014
of the Legislative Council
Tamar Valley Brand
(Rosevears) - Mr President, there was a time when branding meant
putting identification marks on cattle, or you had those household
brand products like shoe polish, soap and the like. They were often
much-loved brands which inspired long-term loyalty. Whether we like
it or not, we contrive brands for states, tourism regions and a
diversity of other things. It is no bad thing because it helps us to
find the qualities and advantages of something that we want to
present publicly. Good branding can create an instant image, like
'Tasmania on a plate' which is being used now, or 'Clean and Green'.
West Tamar part of my electorate is going through a branding process
at this moment. The process, led by the West Tamar Council, is
defining how the West Tamar is best perceived by wouldbe tourists.
It is identifying qualities like our stunning, scenic Tamar Valley -
the vineyards, the green hills, and the already established tourism
infrastructure, including restaurants and accommodation.
it is an urgent process. The opening paragraphs of the document
titled 'The Tamar Valley Brand' reads thus -
West Tamar and Tamar Valley has seen its tourism footprint and
profile diminish slowly over a decade - what was once a must visit
destination in 20042009 has gradually waned with visitation
exceeding 120 000 now down to approximately 76 000, a drop of around
35 per cent.
and promotion of the region outside of Launceston has been largely
left to individual operators with some exceptions - the Tamar Valley
Wine Route, Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre and the Tamar
Valley resort still marketing aggressively.
became apparent is that while we have the products and attractions
visitors would like to see, we had lost the brand or feeling
associated with the Tamar Valley. Visitors to Tasmania expect a clean
green and pristine offering, products in the arts, crafts, markets,
food and wine, natural attractions, gardens, history and museums are
all sought after however, the icons remain the catalyst for the
visitor to decide to travel. Salamanca, MONA, Port Arthur, Cradle
Mountain, Freycinet, Mount Wellington are major drawcards.
Tamar Valley document written by the West Tamar Council's tourism
development officer, Damien Blackwell, was partly the basis for a
forum I attended on 14 August with industry representatives and
operators. Three words underpin the West Tamar brand, as we heard
that night - refine, engage, delight. But there is much more to the
brand than that. There is a new website being developed along with
videos, and a total engagement with social media. Damien Blackwell
says that visitor behaviour is indicating there is a whole new
demographic that is looking beyond the major cities. They research
and make their own decisions and are looking to discover for
themselves, rather than be told. Would-be visitors' tools of choice
are websites, social media and specific tourism qualifiers, such as
TripAdvisor and Expedia.
Tamar Valley is able to offer the products associated with the
Tasmanian brand. We have nature, we have history, we have food and
wine, and we have high-end accommodation, arts, and an experience
that allows connection and engagement, not just contrived or
concocted tourism. However, it faces the same problem as anyone else
wanting to sell a product - creating an image, a brand, and then
broadcasting a message as widely as possible.
West Tamar is going to adopt the playful attribute of the northern
regional tourism brand, with the addition of naturalness. This
complements an alliance with the regional brand position engineered
by Tourism Northern Tasmania, and it also matches the 'Beyond the
Scenery' campaign in place with Tourism Tasmania - quirky, offbeat
Blackwell says the challenge was to find the Tamar Valley's niche in
the state and national tourism context, to find a direction, and to
identify that which sets West Tamar apart from other tourist
destinations and wine regions particularly, nationally. He says
delivery of an on-brand, talk-worthy experience is critical, and
developing this with the industry and leveraging off an already
excellent award-winning product, will help achieve excellence and
is obvious that engagement with local operators will be critical. The
aim is to stimulate further investment in infrastructure and tourism
products to meet demand in line with visitor growth. Mr Blackwell
gave an example of that river valley in the south - the Huon. I want
to draw the attention of the former Mayor of the Huon Valley who, no
doubt, will take a lot of credit.
- He is still the Mayor.
- Still the Mayor. Of course, keep taking the credit. The Huon Valley
undertook a major project in tourism about the time when visitation
in the Tamar Valley was quite static. There was heavy investment in
marketing, industry collaboration and stakeholder engagement. The
local tourism body, the council and the industry took the step to
invest time and resources in tourism. The result we have seen shows
its success - Pennicott Wilderness Cruises, Huon Valley food trail,
the Bruny Island food explosion, Peppermint Bay Provedore, Grandvewe
Sheep Cheese, Peppermint Bay Cruise, Huon Valley Mushrooms, Tahune
Airwalk and the major winner, Gourmet Farmer.
Tamar Valley does not duplicate these attractions but we have
equivalents of our own. Our process is an holistic one to refine our
brand, engage our operators, delight our visitors and accelerate word
of mouth, both in person and online. I am looking to accelerate my
wordage. It is important for my electorate that this approach