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Ready, resilient and robust: Regional tourism in focus


Jane Munro
13 August 2010
Leaders and key stakeholders in Australia’s regional tourism industry will come together next week for the 10th Australian Regional Tourism Convention to be held in the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

The event, hosted by the Australian Regional Tourism Network (ARTN), is themed ‘Australia’s regions – ready, resilient and robust’ and will explore what it takes for the tourism industry to thrive in regional Australia’s ever-changing economic, social and natural environments.

Chair of the Convention and manager of Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management’s Tourism Extension Unit, Ms Rose Wright said the Dandenongs was selected as the host destination as the region provided a first-hand look at the area’s incredible achievements following on from the devastating 2009 bushfires as well as an opportunity to look behind the scenes at some of Victoria’s most iconic tourism destinations.

“The Australian Regional Tourism Convention is a national forum that enables issues facing regional tourism development, management and marketing to be discussed and debated. Key outcomes from the convention enable the ARTN to advocate to government at all levels on issues of policy and programs to advance the needs of its member regions,” Ms Wright said.

Ms Wright, who will be facilitating a convention session entitled, ‘Cultivating Regional Leadership’, said the issue of leadership was critical to regional Australia.

“This has been particularly obvious during the election campaign where regional tourism in Australia has been largely neglected by both parties. Tourism is a key economic driver and provides significant economic benefit to many regional communities and the national economy as a whole – yet there has been no new thinking or policy to aid in its growth or management,” Ms Wright said.

“Given that regional tourism represents almost half of the billions of dollars tourism contributes to the Australian economy, you would hope that the regional industry in particular would attract new policies and programs targeted to enhance its productivity and growth in regional destinations.

“What I would like to see is greater recognition of the economic value of tourism, not just in terms of accommodation, but the flow on affect into the whole economy – and governments at local, state and federal level working with us, and the industry, to support its development, management and marketing.

“We need to ensure tourism is front of mind when government is developing policy, and strong regional leadership will provide a voice for this,” Ms Wright said.

The Australian Regional Tourism Network is the peak national body representing regional tourism practitioners providing leadership to the industry. The organisation supports its members by providing opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing and advocacy to foster sustainable regional development and is an incorporated not for profit organisation run by members for members. The Southern Cross University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management is a main sponsor of the ARTN.

The 2010 Australian Regional Tourism Convention runs from Monday, August 16 through to Friday, August 20 and will be held at various locations in the Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs region in Victoria. For more information visit

Photo: Chair of the 2010 Australian Regional Tourism Convention and manager of Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management’s Tourism Extension Unit, Ms Rose Wright.