Great article by Nigel McBride - Chief Executive Business SA
When my generation headed overseas in search of adventure, a copy of the Lonely Planet travel guide invariably went with us.
Often handed down from one family member or friend to another, well-thumbed editions of Lonely Planet helped us decide where to go and what to see.
Such is the influence of this publication that, decades on, Lonely Planet remains the undisputed ‘go-to’ guide, even as we can now tap into travel tips on the web with a few clicks of the mouse.
So, it was a great personal thrill to see Lonely Planet recently place South Australia in its ‘Best of Travel 2017’ list of top ten destinations worldwide. In fact, we were ranked fifth, behind Choquequirao in Peru, Taranaki in New Zealand, The Azores in Portugal and North Wales in the United Kingdom.
That’s extremely good company and places South Australia squarely in front of a global audience.
Lonely Planet said: “From the bush to the beach with the Barossa chucked in for good measure, this underrated destination neatly wraps all the quintessential Aussie experiences you could dream up into one”.
The news was understandably greeted with enthusiasm by all sectors of the State’s flourishing visitor economy and political and tourism stakeholders.
With such free publicity comes a reminder that as our visitor economy grows, so too does the responsibility for businesses to respond to this evolving market.
Our approach to one of Australia’s fastest growing inbound markets, China, is a case in point.
It is still relatively rare to see tourism brochures, restaurant menus, and signage in Mandarin – or the languages of other countries where South Australia’s appeal as a destination is growing.
Making the travel basics, such as reading a menu, as easy as possible is a simple but strong statement of how much we value a visitor’s custom and patronage.
And it does not have to be an expensive exercise. That other great contributor to our economic and cultural fabric, the international students that visit Adelaide, could provide a diverse source of advice and skills in this regard.
Smart businesses have hired these graduates from SA’s universities and are reaping rich rewards as they use their cultural and language skills to advantage.
Lonely Planet’s recommendation reflects the inherent attractiveness of a State that has it all in such an accessible package.
As rewarding as that is, we must continue to meet the needs of our guests if we are to maximise their enjoyment and satisfaction.
Only then will they either return for another visit or encourage their friends and family to do so and, as a result, ensure the sustainability of one of the State’s great assets and the jobs and prosperity that go with it.