‘Iconic reading’ is how Geelong Otway Tourism’s new Business Plan 2004-2007 is described by Www.newmatilda.com’s Gregory Day and, as of August 2004, this is the first regional tourism association in Australia to be benchmarked under the GREEN GLOBE 21 system. See www.geelongotway.org.
‘Green Globe is the only worldwide program for local communities and the tourism industry to measure themselves against their peers in key environmental and social performance areas leading to a better environment. Green Globe sees itself as the ‘path’ to sustainable tourism, and currently has participants in all continents and over 50 countries’ www.greenglobe.com.
GO Tourism aims to develop their region as a GREEN GLOBE destination, developing sustainable tourism indicators for the region and at a local level
implementing a sustainable tourism benchmarking program for operators and communities. As part of the focus on Sustainable Tourism, the Association is working closely with the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre www.crctourism.com.au and GREEN GLOBE 21.
This plan builds on a previous goal of communicating to its members not just the marketing, but also the research and product development carried out by the organisation. Key projects included encouraging operators to secure accreditation, as Tasmania has done, recognising the role of the visiting friends and relatives market, research into visitor satisfaction, identifying needs of the increasing numbers of mature travellers, and being proactive in stimulating capital investment. It saw the challenges as sustainability, seasonality, yield, competitiveness and resourcing.
Background: In 1993 the new City of Greater Geelong formed a partnership with three local tourism associations. This successful collaborative effort expanded to include Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Golden Plains Shire, Queenscliff Borough. The importance of the natural environment to successful tourism marketing and development was recognized by including on the board a representative of what is today the Department of Sustainability and Environment.