Ballarat is a region in Australia that has got a myriad of attractions ranging from the scenic views to the enchanting boutiques and galleries that it has. These features are tourist attractions to both the local and foreign tourists. Domestic visitors form the bulk of visitors who toured Ballart in the year 2009/2010. Foreign tourists on the other hand are the ones who spent the most money while on tour in Ballarat.
The tourism industry in Ballarat aided in the development of various tourism related businesses. According to statistics of 2009/2010 regarding Ballarat’s tourism industry, more than 2100 tourism related businesses were in operation. These businesses ended up creating more employment opportunities for the local residents and boosted the economy of the region as a result (Ekonde, 2011).
In spite of the fact that the industry has grown over time, operations are underway in search of better practices that need to be adopted by various stakeholders in the industry to enhance their competitiveness and enable them to compete with other world class tourist destinations.
The importance of marketing in the tourism industry cannot be overemphasized if one wants to remain relevant in the industry. Stakeholders in Ballarat’s tourism industry are no exception. They need to come up with marketing strategies that are effective, relevant and are line in with times.
Ballarat is Victoria’s largest historic inland city situated 110 kilometers west of Melbourne. It has some of the best Victoria’s hidden tourism treasures. They include wide open spaces with a panoramic view, exquisite galleries that are enchanting and vintage boutiques that are pristine and elegant (Flanagan, 2000).
The city also has engaging and exciting events throughout the year that tourists can sample and enjoy. The region is rich in Australian history that tourists can immerse themselves in not to mention one of the most unique and exciting shopping experiences in the numerous shopping complexes and boutiques.
The purpose of this report is to analyze the visitor situation in Ballarat and coming up with relevant, efficient and effective promotional activities that are going to portray the region as the ideal tourist destination for both the local and foreign tourists.
The development of effective marketing materials and marketing strategies is crucial for tourism activity in Ballarat to be more vibrant. Ballarat should consider incorporating promotional activities such as generic brochures, placing advertisements in local newspapers, informing the local residents about the passport campaign, media releases and blog campaigns.
These are some of the promotional activities that stakeholders within the Ballarat tourism industry should consider adopting in an effort of shoring up activity within their industry (Pike, 2004).
The visitor situation in Ballarat
According to the regional tourism profile of Ballarat, approximately $284 million dollars was spent by visitors in the region. 47% of this amount was spent by domestic visitors who spent the night in Ballarat.
It is reported that a total of 1.9 million visitors toured the region of Ballarat, 75% of these visitors were domestic who had visited the region during the day. 1.1 million Nights were spent in Ballarat. Of these nights, 83% were domestic visitors who spent the night in Ballarat.
In the month of June, there were approximately more than 2100 tourism related businesses in the region of Ballarat. 48% of these businesses were non- employing. 45% of these businesses were made up of micro or small businesses. The tables below give a summary of the expenditure by of tourists who visited Ballarat region and related business activities (Pike, 2008).
Ballarat region summary 2009/2010
Tourism businesses 2009/10
|Employing businesses||Non-employing businesses||Total businesses|
|(1-4 employees)||(5-19 employees)||(20-199 employees)||(200+ employees)||owner/manager)|
|Tourism Characteristic Industries||105||93||39||0||237||228||465|
|Tourism Connected Industries||498||270||129||0||897||804||1,701|
|Total Tourism Characteristic and Connected Industries||603||363||168||0||1,134||1,032||2,166|
Analysis of Data on Ballarat’s visitor situation
From the data above, it is apparent that residents of Australia form the bulk of visitors who visit Ballarat. Such a phenomenon is commendable since it implies that Ballarat’s tourism industry is largely self sufficient in that it does not depend on foreigners to thrive.
The industry does not experience high or low seasons since the influx of tourists to the region are regular. As a result, employment opportunities that arise out of these tourist activities are available throughout the year. This means that the economy of the region is stable all year round (Kozak, et al. 2009).
It is important for stakeholder in Ballarat’s tourism industry to promote Ballarat as an ideal tourist destination for foreigners. They should aggressively market Ballarat as an ideal tourist destination in foreign markets in an attempt of increasing the number of foreign tourists visiting Ballarat.
This will go along way towards improving the economy of the region by providing additional employment to the local residents over and above that which the domestic tourists have helped to establish.
This can be achieved by incorporating additional exciting events to the regional tourism calendar. Activities that are interesting and enjoyable will definitely appeal to a wider audience both the local and foreign tourists. This will shore up the number of tourists who visit Ballarat (Wang, 2011).
Ballarat’s marketing strategy
Stakeholders in Ballarat’s tourism industry need to develop marketing materials that will showcase Ballarat as an ideal tourist destination with the intention of giving potential visitors a reason to visit the region.
There are some destination specific factors that stakeholders should consider when coming with the marketing materials. One needs to consider whether the visitor has been to the destination before or not. The cost of living of living at the destination as well as prices of the tourism packages should be in the back of the minds of those charged with the responsibility of developing Ballarat’s marketing materials.
The facilities at the destination, cost of transportation, time taken to travel, and the quality of services and political stability of the destination are key in the process of developing effective marketing materials (Lubbe, 2003).
Information that has been collected about the visitor situation in Ballarat points to the fact that the majority of visitors who tour Ballarat are local residents. 75% of the 1.9 million visitors who toured Ballarat region during the day were domestic visitors and 83% of the 1.1 million visitors who spent the night in Ballarat were also domestic visitors.
On the other hand, although foreign visitors are not as many as domestic visitors, they spent more money while touring the region than domestic visitors-53% of $284 million spent in Ballarat in 2009/2010.
Therefore, Ballarat regional tourism should tailor their promotions in a way that it will give the domestic tourists a reason to spend more money when touring the region. The promotions should also showcase Ballarat region as an ideal tourist destination that will appeal to a larger audience of foreign tourists (Garrod, 2005).
It is a fact that foreign tourists spend a lot more than domestic tourists who visit Ballarat. Stakeholders of Ballarat’s tourism industry should find out what exactly is the reason that makes foreign tourists to spend more and enhance it to increase the amount of money they spend while visiting the region.
Tourism related businesses in Ballarat have gradually gone up over the years. It is reported that in the year 2009/2010 there were more than 2100 tourism related businesses in Ballarat. 48% of these businesses were non-employing while 45% of these consisted of micro and small businesses.
The Ballarat regional tourism should look for ways that will ensure that tourism related businesses participate fully in the tourist activities within the region.
All tourism related business should be made to understand the importance adopting certain business practices that will alter their individual businesses and that of the region for the better. They should be impressed upon the importance developing competitive products, providing quality service, offering discounts on the products and services on sale and pricing their products and services fairly (Van der Veen, 2003).
The measures mentioned above are just some of the few that would change the fortunes of tourism related businesses in Ballarat and the economy of the entire region if they are implemented.
All the tourism related businesses should be given incentives by the local authorities in effort of encouraging them to keep running their businesses. Incentives such as tax breaks, creating an environment that is conducive for running a business and reducing the cost of running any tourism related industry in the region will go a long way towards ensuring that businesses actively participate in the tourism industry.
All tourism related businesses should consider joint marketing when they want to promote their goods and services. The merits that come with this are that it is cost effective owing to the economies of scale. It is also bound to reach a much wider audience because it markets all the businesses as a whole. The businesses should have attractive packages complete with discounts that will serve to attract more customers.
Stakeholders in Ballarat’s tourism industry are supposed to come up with various ways of that will effectively market Ballarat as an ideal tourist destination both at home and abroad. There are a variety of promotional strategies and these strategies have to reach the target market.
Small brochures and flyers are simple yet effective in getting the message to the intended domestic audience. These are easily distributed to the local residents and are not costly to produce (Scott, 2009).
Placing of advertisements about a campaign in the local newspaper is another effective way of reaching a wider audience. This may cost more than other forms of advertising but the end results justify the relatively high costs.
Media releases are much more sophisticated in terms of promoting a campaign like the passport campaign in an effort of attracting more visitors to Ballarat. Media releases will cost a lot more than other forms of advertising but they reach an equally wider audience compared to other forms of advertising.
One is sure of reaching a wider audience if his mode of advertisement of choice is through media release. Media releases include placing advertisements about the campaign in either the radio or the television.
Technological advances and the advent of the internet have brought with them new ways of communication as well as advertisement. Nowadays, online advertising is all the rage by virtue of the fact that it is capable of reaching a much wider audience comparative to other forms of advertising.
Online advertising can be placed on websites or blogs. Any visionary organization or institution uses online advertising together with other forms of advertising to popularize its products and services.
Stakeholders of Ballarat’s tourism industry should also consider online advertising to popularize their campaign strategy. This is more so because of the nature of the industry they are in. Online advertising is very suitable for any tourism related business.
This is because apart from reaching a wider audience, both local and foreign, it is cost effective and saves on time and workload. Ballarat’s tourism industry has no option but to go for online advertising if they are to remain competitive in their industry.
Ballarat is region that is historically rich. There are numerous unique features about the place and if it is marketed aggressively, tourists will flock the region in droves. There are a number of measures if adopted by the various stake holders in the region’s tourism industry, the tourism industry of the region will thrive.
Stakeholders have to first of all identify the relevant target market both at home and abroad. Target market refers to the visitors who are highly likely to visit Ballarat by virtue of the features that appeal to them.
The second step is creating a comprehensive perceived tourist image of Ballarat. The various different aspects about Ballarat that will make the region more appealing to visitors include natural resources. Under natural resources one should give a detailed description of the scenery, the variety and uniqueness of the flora and fauna. The general infrastructure of the place should also be described.
The state of roads, airports and the general system of transport should be outlined. Tourist infrastructure such as hotels and restaurants should also be given. Aspects of cultural history and art such museums and historical buildings should be included as well.
What follows thereafter is the development of a creative, relevant and effective promotional strategy for both the domestic and foreign visitors who had been previously identified as the target market. The different promotional strategies that they would have come up with are in turn advertised in the various media.
The regions tourism stakeholders should team up with all the tourism related businesses in the region and market their products and services along with the region to achieve the desired maximum effect on the prospective visitors. Interesting and exciting packages offered by the various stakeholders will tremendously boost the influx of tourists in the region of Ballarat.
Ballarat’s tourism has come a long way. Every sector in the industry has experienced growth. This is as a result of increased flow of tourists into Ballarat. Tourism related businesses have also increased as a result creating employment to the local residents of Ballarat hence boosting its economy.
There is a lot more though that can be done to grow the industry to higher levels. Integration of modern technology in all aspects of the business will do a great deal in terms of taking the industry to the next level.
Using the internet to market the region the world over will give the industry a competitive edge. In summary, the industry should develop unique selling points that highlight key factors that are appealing to the visitors. This will ensure that the industry continues to grow from strength to strength.
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