A new tourism project has developed three specially designed experience trails to attract more visitors to the Blue Mountains region to stay overnight.
The Regional Strategic Alliance (RSA) - a collaboration between Blue Mountains, Penrith and Hawkesbury councils - has developed the trails in response to extensive research on visitor patterns and preferences.
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said: "The experience trails cater to varying consumer tastes and include a Flavour Trail, Nature Trail and Adventure Trail.
"By focusing on a variety of experiences, we highlight the diversity of what the region can offer visitors - from hospitality, to adventure tourism, to the spectacular natural attractions of our world heritage region, ensuring that many of our local businesses benefit."
Each trail incorporates a three-day, two-night itinerary and is available to visitors in an attractive, easy-to-follow printed or electronic document. The trails feature maps, distances, approximate drive times, travel tips, daily itineraries, suggested stops for food and views, and other highlights.
After achieving matched funding for the project from the Destinations Sydney Surrounds North network, a signage audit of the region was undertaken last year. This audit identified ways to enhance visitor experience and informed design of the carefully curated trails to encourage longer stays in our region.
The trails address various issues identified by the audit, including:
- Showing the diverse experiences of the region;
- Increasing overnight visitors by creating multi-day itineraries;
- Shifting perception of the region from a daytrip destination to a multi-night destination for Sydney residents;
- Linking key experiences in the region;
- Suggesting the best ways for visitors to move through the region;
- Identifying and showcasing lesser-known experiences to visitors;
- Dispersing visitors from overcrowded areas;
- Creating a resource for visitor centres, council, and businesses to promote the region, and;
- Creating driving experiences that can easily be integrated into future marketing.
Regional tourism operators are being encouraged to get on board, with a helpful Operator Toolkit showing how operators can promote their business through social media, digital marketing and business listings.
"In doing this, we will increase our visitor numbers and the length of their stay in the region, boosting the local economy and businesses, many of which rely on tourists for steady trade," Cr Greenhill said.