September 26th 2008
Locals Zing about tourism
Magnetic Times has just received a copy of Townsville City Council's minutes from the "Zing" brainstorming meeting held on Monday with Island business people. As a meeting is planned this coming Monday to form a new Local Tourism Body we have reproduced the questions and the extenstive generalised responses to them generated by the Zinging.
For readers who haven't attended a Zing session this one worked as follows. At each table were up to six participants who would raise ideas in response to the questions seen below. The Zing technology allowed each table to key in their ideas in a rapid point form which were projected simultaneously onto a large screen with all the others. Within seconds there were tens of responses posted, so that many ideas, good bad or ugly, as depending on your point of view, were raised.
There was no time for any real discussion of the points, except for briefly at the indvidual table level, but it did provide an interesting insight into the diversity of thinking by Island business people.
Following are the results posted to the Zing software. The questions are followed by general groupings of responses under particular headings.
1. What do you envision is the future for tourism development on Magnetic Island?
* Target a more sophisticated market
* Become more cooperative
* Overseas market to be tapped into
* More tourists from overseas markets to tap into "best kept secret"
* Centralise advertising funds
* We need to get onboard with national wholesales to grow awareness of Magnetic Island
* Working cooperatively. More potential to pool resources and do cooperative campaigns
* Cooperative TV commercials
* More joint marketing with the wholesalers to create desire for placement
* Concentration on luring locals from mainland to Magnetic Island
* Sell an experience - thrills and spills/ events/ chill out
* Joint marketing
* Council and businesses to work cooperatively to target wedding related businesses
* Increased regional / intra state cooperative marketing
* Develop equitable partnerships
Sustainable tourism development and growth
* Development has to happen, but lets make it fit with the island
* Development in tune with lifestyle and environment
* Cooperative and economically sustainable growth in tourism
* More people to the island.
* We need to have Townsville City Council working with developers to make them more sustainable
* Environmentally sustainable and energy-smart growth
* A viable environmentally engaging destination
* Low key development - family oriented - we don't want another Port Douglas.
Council infrastructure - national park walks, rangers for interpretive walks, signage (interpretive and historic), signage audit, roads..... Need to conduct signage audit
* Improved Council and local infrastructure
* More Council infrastructure
* Upgrade the Council business boards
* More Council spending on tourism infrastructure
* Fix signage for all the walks on the island
* More support for the backpacker industry financially
* Fix the Radical bay road for all users
* Develop the road along the Horseshoe Bay to the end
* More safe walkways between the bays
Collaborative approach to sustainable tourism development - leave agendas behind
* A supported network with TEL and Council
* All the businesses working together to promote the island as a whole
* Leave our own agendas behind
* Find some unity and move forward
* Better communication to eliminate conflicts
* Form a local committee to conduct social events
* Townsville Enterprise to stop charging for breathing
* If tourism is going to move forward, we need the whole island to move forward with it. For example: no food outlets for tourists after 8pm.
* Careful future development
* Balance between tourism and suburban living
* EPA, GBRMPA, Aims to be involved in the development of tourism products
* Cooperative planning between activity and accommodation providers to promote the island.
Tourism Product DevelopmentMore tourist activities for all seasons
* Aqua Park
* More weekly events on the island, such as the toad races
* Retail and staff training program development
* New small experiences that build on the differences here, and set Magnetic Island apart from anywhere else.
* More safe water activity events in stinger season
* More interpretive information for environmental activities
* Better zoning information for tourists
Maintain natural beauty and character of Magnetic Island
* Keep the charm and the heritage
* People are coming here for the nature - lets keep it
* To maintain the special nature of the Island - its' laid back quality, environment and no fast food chains.
Family friendly activities
Continue to build on the Family market to the region
Family and child focused information and activities
More child orientated activities for the kids
Develop wedding and business tourism cluster/strategy
* Conference and wedding market working together with all businesses on island
* Use current resort tourists to survey what think the island needs
* Survey to provide up to date info re source of tourists coming to magnetic
* Talk to media regarding negative stigma / comments in the local media
* Increased residents' level of tolerance re attracting visitors to the island
2. What do you consider to be the challenges facing sustainable tourism development on Magnetic Island?
* Transport costs reduction
* Transport costs
* Poor timetabling
* The cost of the ferry is too high for the average family
* Electric cars/golf buggies should be road registered for use as THE island mode of transport (Solar City?!)
Lack of infrastructure & financial support
Council to complete sewerage project
Money - Magnetic Island's tourism industry is traditionally made up of lots of small operators, who are not prepared to put money into advertising
Information bureau required with impartiality
Getting a fair share of the funding dollars
Infrastructure - water, sewerage, roads etc - safety concerns, can current infrastructure support growing tourism
Financial impacts on businesses going green vs. future cost savings - opportunities for funding
Need for further product development
* Lack of weekly activities/entertainment particularly in the evenings
* Other monthly events for backpackers other then the full moon parties
* Need to fix the business boards
* Picnic bay development
Need to get balance right between development and sustainability
* Encourage greener environment
* Opportunity for operators to work together for Magnetic Island to be a leader in sustainable practices and educate guests
* Contradiction between images of Magnetic presented by large developments as opposed to the image of character and low key destination wished for by most
* What really is sustainability - it can't be the only focus
Lack of Community Support
* Lack of communication and attitude in the community
* Magnetic Islanders tolerance of visitors
* Local apathy to visitors and the benefits to the Island they provide
* Lack of support from Townsville residents
* Mainland still has an old fashioned idea of what Maggie is like. Still talk about ferals!
Lack of shared vision, direction & image of Island
* Lack of leadership
* Industry cohesion
* Lack of single vision sharing
* Attitude for a `12 month season'
* Prioritising the challenges and ticking them off one by one
* Magnetic Island not on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse
* A clearly articulated reason for coming here compared to other destinations
Need for closer relationships and collaboration
* Real Estate agents working with the tourist industry
* Better tourism education/ knowledge to government authorities
* Building relationships with indigenous groups on the island
* Working and promoting together
* Too much red tape
* If the rental accommodation continues to increase will not have a workforce to be able to live on the Island.
3. How do you think Council could help facilitate sustainable tourism development on Magnetic Island?
Marketing and Promotion
* Advertise free activities in form of brochures
* Encourage Townsville residents to come to the island
* Council pamphlets with comprehensive information
* Instead of free tip vouchers, Council should provide 'visit Magnetic Island day' vouchers
* Council should promote the island and its activities
* Birds and wildlife pamphlet
* Advertise all aspects of the island
* Get more koalas (key differentiation point for Magnetic Island)
* Council to encourage the pink dollar
* Paths and roads that facilitate safe tourism
* Invest some money into the Island infrastructure like Riverway
* Provide standard infrastructure i.e. footpaths, roads, street lights
* Get rid of beach in marina so that boat owners want to come
* Parking areas
* Council to improve walkways from Nelly Bay to Arcadia.
* Mount Cook walkway
* Beautify break water
* Continue to upgrade Alma Bay by removing dead debris on the beach in front of surf club
* Encourage those with biggest wallets / luxury boat owners come to Magnetic Island i.e. make the marina worth coming to for primary facilities (fuel, toilets, wind protected).
Planning & Development
* Maintain a visual standard in housing and image
* Planning - adapt to the island not the other way around
* Communicate internally with other Council departments i.e. planning etc to ensure development fits with island character etc
* A percentage of the council rates should be directed to the Tourism development - i.e. the Gold Coast.
* Make the ferry more affordable for the average family
* Townsville City Council puts lots of money already into TEL where does that go?
* Levy on all business for cooperative marketing and development
* Council sponsored events
* Council to add further support to proposed annual events on the Island
Council's Tourism Network
* Central independent body to be a voice for Magnetic Island tourism
* Approx 4 workshops per year but ensure that they are followed up on - findings shared, and actions followed up on by Council and operators
* Well facilitated workshops
* Provide expertise, people, management, centralised support, funding
* Inform operators and magnetic is community on what needs to be done and what is happening
* Be a serious accountable voice for Islanders regarding budgets for footpaths etc
* Educating businesses on tourism services and the financial benefits tourism brings to the region
* Liaise with other government bodies like Queensland Transport, GBRMPA etc
* Magnetic Island indigenous history research
4. Are there any other pressing issues for tourism development on Magnetic Island that have not yet been discussed?
* How to connect different interests on island?
* Need to use successful case studies as a model rather than reinventing the wheel
As reported yesterday the meeting for all Islanders interested in forming a new Tourist body for Magnetic will be held at the Pepper's Conference Room at 5.45pm on Monday 29 September.
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