Tourism sector benefits from Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance work

BIRD TOURISM: The Birding KI group is keen to see bird-watching tourism be promoted and encouraged at locations including the Cygnet River estuary. Photo: John Hodgson
BIRD TOURISM: The Birding KI group is keen to see bird-watching tourism be promoted and encouraged at locations including the Cygnet River estuary. Photo: John Hodgson

Kangaroo Island's official Regional Tourism Organisation, the KI Tourism Alliance, known as KITA, continues to get significant runs on the board for the Island's tourism sector and businesses more generally.

Federal government Recovery for Regional Tourism funds in excess of $2.7million have been allocated to KITA for a range of projects implemented to assist with marketing the Island, support experience development and business capacity and capability building.

A number of the projects are currently being rolled out and others are still in the development and approval phase.

KITA chairman Pierre Gregor said that considerable industry consultation had occurred to ensure the development of projects that will drive demand, entice longer stays and assist businesses to improve their operations and position in the market place.

"Projects underway have been evaluated and approved by the federal government as being consistent with the purpose of the funds and will assist the bushfire and COVID recovery process," Mr Gregor said.

"It is an exciting and particularly busy time and our small team is doing a fantastic job ensuring that there is no loss of momentum despite COVID-related challenges impacting some of the projects. We look forward to the outcomes that our projects will deliver".

In addition to progressive consultative processes, the utilisation of the funds and determination of projects is being managed by the KITA Board through a Recovery for Regional Tourism Steering Committee and dedicated procurement committee and supported by a strategic project advisor.

Dr Claire Ellis who is very familiar with Kangaroo Island, well credentialed and well known in the domestic tourism sector has been engaged to perform this role.

Under the banner of Trade Packaging, Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance have also instigated a comprehensive interstate marketing campaign.

Flight Centre and Travel Associates have been engaged to market the island to the domestic market, predominantly NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

The marketing component of the Trade Packaging project has been purposely delayed pending the easing of interstate border restrictions.

Marketing will likely recommence at the end of November and run through to the end of June with associated travel periods extending well into the second half of 2022.

Mr Gregor said that this was an important decision with the intent of ensuring return on investment and also generating visitation outside of traditional peak periods.

The Recovery for Regional Tourism funds are also being utilised to help local businesses recover, become more resilient and enhance their operations through a one on one operator support program.

The program has been well subscribed with over 70 participating businesses being beneficiaries of up to 20 hours dedicated support through Stream 1 of the program.

Stream 2 remains open for registration whereby operators will receive support with business advancement, an activation plan and up to four hours one on one business mentoring.

The one on one component ensures that the support package is tailored to the specific needs of each participating business.

Considerable emphasis is also being placed on cluster work aimed at enhancing visitor experiences with the intent of enticing longer stays, greater spend and repeat visitation.

This includes $255,000 being allocated to the development of town walks that will include new interpretation and have a strong focus on heritage, history, birding and wildlife and potentially art.

"We are working very closely with the relevant progress associations to increase town vibrancy and elevate available local experiences, walks and story-telling," Mr Gregor said.

"This can only be a good thing for the townships and visitors alike."

Other areas of focus will include clusters such as wildlife and birding, farm gate and cellar doors, events, sustainability and eco certification, he said.

Support being provided extends beyond the KITA membership and has included Advance Kingscote Progress Association's project to paint the Kingscote silos and potentially the Birding KI group.

Businesses seeking to be included in the one on one mentoring program or some of the cluster work are encouraged to contact KITA's Regional Tourism Manager, Megan Harvie via megan@tourkangarooisland.com.au

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