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The 2015 NSW Arts and Cultural Policy Framework, Create in NSW identify one of the key actions to be actioned for Regional NSW as:

Promoting opportunities for cultural tourism through Destination Management Planning (DMP) — in consultation with the Regional Arts Network and Destination NSW.

The potential of cultural tourism needs to be seen in the context of issues involved in making the connections between the regional arts sector and the tourism industry (known in official jargon as “the visitor economy”).

Some of those issues are highlighted below to provide further insight into how the arts and cultural sector can be involved.

What is a Destination Plan?

The concept of Destination Management Plans (DMP) in New South Wales formally came about in 2012/13 as an identified First Year Action of the Visitor Economy Action Plan. It became linked to funding requirements.

There was also an existing template, the Guide to Best Practice Destination Management, developed by the Australian Regional Tourism Network (ARTN) in association with the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

A number of the approved Destination Management Plans for the Mid North Coast are now up for review. Check your local Council on the status of the plan and when it might be reviewed for further local input.

You too can be involved!

Part of the problem of incorporating Arts and Culture into Destination Management Planning is actually defining what is arts and culture. The DMP templates identify a number of categories of attractions like museum, gallery, performance or event. However the goals of the Visitor Economy is more than single attractions – it is about connections, interactions and experiences.

On the Mid North Coast, we have hundreds of visual artists and there is more opportunity for them to exhibit in a café, restaurant or winery than in a gallery. It is the same for musicians and performance venues. In each case, it is about the experience being offered that is the successful outcome or measure, not the location or venue per se.

Here are some ideas for cultural tourism experiences to be developed and promoted for whatever works best locally. All focus on connections, collaboration and cooperation:

  • Packaging attractions into trails and experiences. Check out Creative Coast Cultural Trails
  • Coordinating hours of opening of all museums to allow joint tickets or heritage pass.
  • Real rather than token admission prices to allow promotions, marketing etc.
  • Connections/ offers between accommodation providers and arts and culture venues with an admission price. Can be 2 for 1 offers rather than discounts.
  • Connections between theatres and one-off events and local restaurants e.g. preshow early dinners or drinks.
  • Connections between tourism operators and artists to teach a skill. Could be accommodation providers or operators such as spa and pamper packages. A recent example in Port Macquarie is very innovative. Paint the Town Port delivers art classes in local cafes, bars and restaurants.
  • Encouraging activities for a night time economy
  • Encouraging the use of existing schools education packages to be modified for holiday activities in peak family visit periods
  • Encouraging use of existing school packages to be used for adult events or enhanced to target Conference and Incentives market
  • Partners programs for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events)
  • Building on a “star cultural attraction”

All of these and other initiatives such as developing trails can be specific actions in a Destination Management Plan relevant to the region or locality and its assets and resources.

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We live and work across the traditional lands of the Gumbaynggirr, Dunghutti/Thunghutti and Biripi Nations on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

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