A Special Relationship: Events & Tourism

On Thursday September 14 I presented at the Australian Events Symposium on a topic that is extremely close to my heart – the symbiotic relationship between the tourism and events industries (that’s if you are one of those that think they are separate industries!).

For me this was a great subject, but also one that made me stop to think ‘Do people actually see Tourism and Events in Australia as separate industries?’. As a passionate advocate for regional tourism, I see events as a critical element of this industry. they are one of the (or sometimes, the only) drivers of tourism and the growth in the visitor economy.

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My past 15 years working on over 20 festivals and in more than 35 regional and rural communities, have involved using the relationship between tourism and events to drive growth in the economy and pride in the community. So, for me tourism and events should not be treated as two industries – it was now my opportunity to showcase why.

You can view my presentation slides here. I also shared this video, which my creative guru Cristy created, to show just how important events are in terms of driving tourism.

A massive shout out to the following events, who kindly supplied me with the content to produce this great regional events video!
Birdsville Big Red Bash
Felton Food Festival
Ballina Prawn Festival
Casino Beef Week
Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
Parkes Elvis Festival
Tamworth Country Music Festival
Lismore Lantern Parade
Deni Ute Muster

We are so lucky to have amazing festivals and events throughout regional and rural Australia!

My presentation went on to talk about what destinations are looking for in an event and on the flip side what events are looking for in a destination, highlighting the fact that many of these overlap and when combined, they can find that amazing sweet spot.

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Using case studies from Birdsville Big Red Bash and Deni Ute Muster I shared some great practical insights and tips on strategies that will allow destinations to leverage events and events to leverage a destination, including:

  • Cooperative marketing campaigns, that drive visitation to the destination and the event
  • Developing packaged and bundled experiences for specific markets, driving increased length of stay pre and post the event
  • The use of a major event to help grow a destinations opportunity market
  • How event merchandise can be used creatively year round to build a social brand and following for the destination
  • Collaboration between a major event and surrounding rural communities to drive dispersal throughout a region
  • Social media and digital tactics that events and destinations can use to support one another

The presentation slides show some examples of these.

My closing statement for destinations and events:

Whilst events and tourism destinations may have different objectives, the NUMBER 1 goal should be for them to work together to create LOYAL event and destination ADVOCATES.
Events play a critical role in introducing visitors to a destination, so the goal needs to be turning them into loyal advocates so that they return to the destination and the event and they tell others about it!

Thank you to the Australian Events Symposium for having me, I had an absolute blast.

Make sure you join the fun next year at the Australian Events Awards & Symposium 2018 on the Sunny Coast!

Linda TillmanComment