Tourism opportunity

In a tough global economic environment, businesses across a range of industries are needing to think outside the square to remain competitive … and tourism is no exception.
As purse strings tighten across Australia and worldwide, holidays and weekends away would be high on the list of expendable luxuries.
So it makes sense that in this difficult financial climate the region’s tourism body has developed a suite of strategies to ensure it can keep bringing visitors into the Hills.
Mt Lofty Summit’s visitor information centre is one of the most frequented facilities of its kind in the State. But aside from a restaurant, a stunning view and walking trails through some spectacular bush, there is little to draw in visitors – or entice them to return.
With its close proximity to Adelaide, the Hills is ideally situated to capture a greater share of the international and interstate tourists that come to the city.
Cruise ship passengers are just one example of new niche markets on which the region can capitalise and taking them to a major attraction such as Mt Lofty makes sense.
It is a short drive from the toll gate and close to other attractions such as Hahndorf and the Cleland Wildlife Park.
There is plenty of potential to create new and exciting visitor experiences at the summit.
Imagine a tour bus load of cruise ship passengers starting their day trip to the Hills at the summit, taking in the view while enjoying tastings of the region’s premium food and wine from producers invited to set up stalls for the day.
Back onto the bus and it’s a quick ride to koala-cuddling and kangaroo feeding, or a guided tour of Hahndorf’s heritage listed main street.
There is no doubt that this region is a tourist’s playground with its treat of food, wine, arts, culture and natural attractions, as well as leading events such as the Tour Down Under and Stirling Autumn Garden Festival.
But it cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
As Adelaide Hills Tourism chairperson Helen Edwards says, visitors are looking for new experiences and new reasons to come back to the region. That means the industry must develop extra attractions across a range of interests to keep the Hills as a vibrant, must-see destination.
Over the last decade this region has outperformed State and national trends for visitors and tourist expenditure, thanks to a rise in visitors from Victoria and day trips from Adelaide.
The Hills has six times more day trip visitors than it does overnight stays, so strategies to help convert those short visits into longer holidays are also a must.