FOSTER township has been very fortunate to be selected to participate in a program run by Destination Gippsland called Tourism Towns of Excellence.
Effectively Foster will have an audit executed (estimated in June sometime) to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses from a tourism standpoint.
An extensive report will be presented to the chamber where we will have a chance to rectify and implement suggested changes, and then a follow up audit (estimated in November) will occur to see if the town has improved.
It is recommended that local businesses evaluate their business and ask their staff to evaluate their service too.
Although not all businesses are designed to service a tourist, Foster is located in a tourism area so our township does need to have the ability to perform as a tourist town.
Working together on this will benefit our whole town not just from a tourism standpoint, as good customer service, for instance, benefits all of our customers.
Destination Gippsland Ltd welcomes Foster’s participation into the Gippsland Tourism Town of Excellence Program. (GTTE)
The GTTE seeks to assist and encourage towns across Gippsland to actively provide an excellent visitor service experience.
GTTE program objectives
- Influence town behaviour through education to understand the value and importance of visitors and the role that tourism plays in the Gippsland community as a significant driver of the regional economy.
- To help towns aspire to high level tourism service delivery that could be considered best practice from a national perspective. And to foster pride within the community and business sector.
- Assist local understanding of the historical context of the town. To value storytelling as a significant visitor experience.
- To help towns achieve and maintain a consistent standard of service excellence across a range of identified areas including town amenities, accommodation, dining, retail, attractions and the natural environment in a ‘whole town approach’.
- Identify opportunities for tourism product improvement to enhance the visitor experience in relation to signage, online connectivity, parking and general amenities.
- Work cooperatively with each council to create a sustainable model for continual improvement that is underpinned by the industry leaders in each town.
Alignment with local government objectives
Recommendations coming from the program, and/or expectations raised in communities for initiatives, can only be progressed as far as they align with local council objectives, strategic planning and budgetary priorities.
What makes a Tourism Town of Excellence?
Tourism is a combination of service industries. The ‘products’ we sell are ‘experiences’.
A motel room, tour bus, fishing boat, café and, in fact, any piece of infrastructure is not the product in itself, but the tool needed to help deliver the visitor experience.
As the host, you are the primary creator and deliver that experience to your guests.
Tourism experiences are primarily created through service and the people who deliver that service are so important. It is the service, the experiences – and the people who helped to create them – that visitors remember.
It’s important to remember that nobody in the tourism business operates in isolation. The total visitor experience relies on quality delivery from many suppliers, most of whom are strongly individualistic businesses and business people.
Is tourism right for us?
As a starting point it is worthwhile answering thequestions below to consider if tourism is right for you?
- Do we want to develop tourism?
- Do we already have tourism products and experiences that we can build on?
- Is tourism compatible with lifestyle and other businesses?
- Do we have businesses that can supply the products and services to support tourism?
- Do we have an available local labour force, and training potential?Do we have public services and infrastructure to handle additional use?
- Do we have resources locally or regionally to help us?
- Will the community benefit from tourism?
11 attributes of a Town of Excellence
- A reason to visit, stop or stay with quality experiences, activities, attractions and interesting shops.
- A range of quality visitor information services are available to visitors.
- Public toilets that are clean and accessible.
- A high level of customer service with a friendly welcoming attitude from locals and business operators.
- A range of quality accommodation in town or nearby.
- A range of quality food and beverage options.
- The opportunity to purchase fuel within 20km.
- Accessible parking for a range of vehicles including long parking for caravans and trailers.
- Appropriate interpretive, way finding and directional signage.
- Visual appeal including quality streetscapes with open and accessible shared spaces.11. Locals work together to benefit the town and support and understand the value of a Town Community Association, Local Business Tourism Association or Chamber of Commerce.