Regional areas invest heavily in their Visitor Info Centres (VICs). Understanding how a VIC contributes to increasing tourism yield can help planning VIC services. It can also provide evidence of the value of contributing to VIC activities for small businesses, local government, departments of natural resources and environment / fisheries etc and destination marketers.
There have been 10 case studies carried out in Victoria, NSW and the ACT with the goal of measuring VIC effectiveness. The results have been used to plan services designed to increase visitor expenditure and stay. Aspects such as VIC service quality, tourism knowledge and the ability of staff to ‘up sell’ accommodation, attractions and tour opportunities were investigated.
A need to collaborate with surrounding regions was indicated in the ACT study, as self-drive tourists tended to use VICs to plan future stopovers as well as the current one. The results of the Canberra and Region Visitor Centre (CRVC) are shown below:
-The market for the CRVC was primarily self-drive tourists and adult couples. Family groups were also an important market:
-Over three quarters of visitors to the Centre had visited Canberra and the ACT previously;
-The Centre was influential in extending the length of stay of more than one third of visitors and had a positive influence on plans for more activities in the region:
Length of stay: 36%(Plan to increase) 57%(No change) 7%(Plan to decrease).
Activities: 56%(Plan to increase) 42%(No change) 2%(Plan to decrease).
-Nearly 40% got info about the surrounding areas from this VIC and said this would affect their visit there;
-81% stated their experience at the Centre would encourage them to visit Canberra and the ACT again;
-85-90% of visitors rated staff knowledge, friendliness, touch screens, brochures and displays of local products as good or very good.
The high level of intention for repeat visits shown in the study led to a strategy designed to inspire repeat visitors once they have returned home.
Other regions can undertake similar research with a kit comprising:
-A copy of the survey
-An automated Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to enable you to enter and analyse your completed surveys
-An instruction manual including tips on collecting the info from visitors and what to do with the results of the research.