GRIFFITH University research indicates tourism heritage could be the next big ticket item for the region, but Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter says the key is not to dwell on the past, but to draw from it.
“The iconic imagery of the Gold Coast that is depicted in posters around the city, predominantly featuring the 1970s’ beach culture, are all legitimate but it is in the past,” says Winter.
“There is no doubt that people are looking for deeper cultural experiences when they go on overseas holidays. But what we need to do is create a new culture for the Gold Coast, not one of nostalgia.”
Griffith University tourism researcher Dr Dave Weaver likens the Gold Coast to Las Vegas – examples of ‘tourist cities’ – those that have developed and exist primarily for tourism and related leisure activities and industries.
Weaver presented the ideas to key tourism industry representatives at a roundtable lunch entitled ‘Tourism Heritage: A new product opportunity for the Gold Coast’.
He says the Coast has a unique opportunity to develop tourism-heritage products, but also identifies the need for product refreshment and new attractions to bring back international markets that have stagnated.
“This roundtable presented tourism heritage concepts and development options, followed by some interactive discussions on how the Gold Coast could take a leadership role in developing ‘new’ product around the concept,” says Weaver.
“The idea of tourism heritage can include historical stuff, but on the Gold Coast, much of the tourism industry is post World War II and the concept is therefore about celebrating and promoting the contemporary tourism heritage.
“We need to add more things like a tourism dedicated museum, bring back baby boomers who may have honeymooned here and start recording history now, including buildings that might be torn down but were hot spots in the 60s – so start archiving.”
Winter is not convinced heritage tourism is the answer to the city’s tourism woes.
“The existing attractions and facilities we have are ageing and we can’t compete with the cost of holidaying in Asian destinations,” he says.
“There is not going to be another boom like we saw in the last three decades of last century. That’s not to say it’s not an efficient and effective industry, but structurally it’s a different world.”
Winter says the best hope for Gold Coast’s immediate tourism revenues is a likely boom of Chinese tourists, similar to the numbers that inundated the Coast in the 1990s from Japan.
THE HERITAGE WAITING LIST
• Laurel Hill farmhouse Ruffles
Road, Willow Vale
• Pimpama & Ormeau War
• Dux Hut, South Stradbroke Island
• Southport Bathing Pavilion
• Southport Drill Hall
• Southport Town Hall
• Kinkabool (formerly Poinciana
Place), Surfers Paradise
• Main Beach Paviliion & Southport
Surf Life Saving Club
• Southport Cable Hut (former)
• Pacific Cable Station (former/
• H2 Hinde Tree on Colliston,
Gilston (Macadamia Tree)
• Numinbah Valley School of Arts
• Schmidt farmhouse and
• Springbrook Road and associated
• Springbrook State School (former)
• Exchange Hotel (former),
• Mudgeeraba Post Office & Nerang
Shire Council Chambers (former)
• Mudgeeraba State School
• Seal Sculpture (relocated), Gold
Coast Exhibition and Convention
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