Regional communities see the value in luring visitors

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Kingston took out the award

There is growing evidence that at least some of Australia’s rural towns are genuinely beginning to appreciate the benefits of attracting more grey nomads.

While debate rages in many communities about whether to allow free and subsidised camping for self-contained travellers , others are just getting their heads down and leaving visitors in no doubt about how welcome they are.

The strength and number of entries to the Sustainable Community Awards – the old Tidy Towns awards – shows the lengths to which some towns are prepared to go.

Sustainable Communities Program manager, Alex Hammett, said the judging process over many months showed regional towns were ‘doing it tough’  but more than ever knew the value of attracting passing travellers.

“Towns that are off the main highways know they just have a few seconds to attract passing motorists by the look and style of their town, so it must be attractive and welcoming,” he said. “Towns are counting on outsiders more than ever before and locals realise that getting tourists to stop for a break, or to eat their lunch, means they get a chance to sell them other products and to introduce them to local attractions.”

And, he told the Coastal Leader newspaper that  gaining a reputation ,either good or bad, could make or break a town.

“Trends in social media networking like Facebook are now coming into play as travellers broadcast quickly if they had a good time or a good meal in a local town,” he said. “Our grey nomads are good communicators and, when they meet at the next caravan park, they will spread a positive word about good places worth visiting.”

The Sustainable Community Award recognises the actions taken by communities to protect and enhance their town and community environment.

The South Australian town of Kingston has just been named this year’s overall winner despite being hit by a destructive tornado one month before judging started.

Do you use social media and the internet to discuss good – and bad –  places on the Big Lap? Where do you think is the most grey nomad friendly small town in Australia? Comment below.


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3 Responses to Regional communities see the value in luring visitors

  1. Without a doubt social media plays a massive part in where nomads head for on their travels as does forums like the one here..
    I do have a favourite town but having said that there are lots of towns that welcome self contained travelers and the sooner the rest wake up and start to offer us better options the sooner their name will come off the “Drive Thru” list..

  2. the towns that provide parking specific for long rigs, free shower/toilets for passer- by. small tarrif and shaded areas for rigs.. ie: Quairading wheatbelt wa. 40-50mins east of York. Quairading is also, planning a bigger more rig friendly caravan park (run by Quairading shire 0896451001).

    thankyou forward thinking.

  3. Kojumup and Varley in the WA wheat belt were great little towns, with a free park in the centre of town. Very welcoming!

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