“The Great South Coast will leverage our agri tourism along with the region’s rural assets and environment to create a profitable consumer tourism food & fibre sector that grows local economies, enhances liveability and lifts the region’s profile as a premier food & fibre destination.”
A strong agri-tourism sector can potentially be an integral part of the food & fibre sector in the Great South Coast Region. The agri-tourism sector has the potential to be a regional economic driver in its own right, but just as importantly it has a role in building the profile and image of the region as a fine food & fibre producer and in showcasing its agricultural powerhouse status.
The Great South Coast tourism sector has two iconic tourism assets in the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians, at the two ends of the Great South Coast Region. With the high visitor numbers to the Great Ocean Road and Apostles, agri-tourism has the potential to attract and retain in the region’s visitors beyond the day or so they stay today. Growth of this sector would create significant community value with spinoff to the “image” of the Great South Coast as a major food & fibre producing region.
The Great South Coast Region has a number of individual locally based food and agri-tourism trails which have been developed to varying levels which have achieved a significant level of success, despite limited resources, there is an opportunity to build on this work that is today just at a local level by:
- improving connectivity and collaboration across the region,
- the building of a bigger “story” – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5-night linked packages
- developing a critical mass to develop individual sections as a part of a holistic approach
- overcoming impediments such as seasonality & present poor yields
- developing a showcase strategy for local food & fibre, gourmet and niche offerings as well as telling a story of the ‘greater’ industry
- developing a network and platform for supply of the region’s produce and fibre so visitors can buy.
To do this, the Great South Coast Food & Fibre Council is bringing together a region wide group to brainstorm opportunities around agri-tourism, develop the linkages and formulate an action plan to provide a plan for agri-tourism across the whole region. The plan will include building a network, connecting, marketing and promotion and will rely heavily on GORRT and tourism professionals to guide, align and deliver on the plan.
The clear and unambiguous goal is to increase visitor retention time in the region which will have an economic outcome of jobs and growth for the region’s community and operators. Presently there are some 4 million visitors annually to the Great Ocean Road who spend on average just 13 cents in the region, and by providing better retention through a successful agritourism plan the impact on this spend and the community multipliers are significant. We aim to put the “whole” region on the map as a food & fibre destination and enhance the image and recognition of the region as an agricultural powerhouse – as #1 in Victoria and #2 in Australia for food and fibre output.