Tourism operators across Victoria’s High Country are seeing, experiencing, and tasting what’s on offer in their own backyard with Industry Immersion Days.
Tourism North East launched the program in 2021 with the goal to help equip High Country tourism businesses with the knowledge to become genuine ambassadors for their region and foster collaboration.
To date, Industry Immersion Days have taken place in Murrindindi Shire, Beechworth, Benalla, and Mansfield, with more lined up for 2022.
The Industry Immersion Days are structured like a media familiarisation, with each itinerary highlighting visitor experiences in a different location. As ‘visitors’ for the day, operators take part in a wide range of experiences – think winery lunches, brewery tastings, guided walks, bike tours, day spa visits and more – while also getting to know the people behind the businesses.
“The itineraries are designed so that operators really get a feel for what’s happening in their backyard. We want to give them the knowledge they need to provide a great visitor experience, promote each other’s businesses, and encourage visitors to stay longer,” said Tourism North East CEO, Bess Nolan-Cook.
A key benefit for participants is the opportunity to meet the people behind the businesses and build stronger local connections, explained Tourism North East Industry and Product Development Manager, Gina Elliott.
“The program is kickstarting relationships between operators. Once they’ve met, they’re more comfortable promoting each other’s businesses and starting collaborations that might not happen otherwise.”
“For example, after the Mansfield event, we saw lots of the operators start promoting each other on social media. We’ve also helped businesses join forces and start promotions – and the exciting thing is we know this is only the start.”
Eddie and Sarah Gibbons from Double Black Alpine, which provides transfers and concierge packages for visitors to Mt Buller and the Great Victorian Rail Trail, attended Industry Immersion Days in Murrindindi Shire and Mansfield.
Eddie said they found the events especially valuable for connecting with other local businesses in the region.
“We’ve realised immediate benefits from the day, such as a collaboration opportunity for a new or enhanced product offering,” he said.
“Also, more longer term ‘slower burns’ have emerged from these days as the conversations or the connections have continued to evolve the thinking from previously unknown potentials and new visitor experiences.”
Eddie said the Industry Immersion Days are more than networking events.
“The days demonstrate Tourism North East’s deeper understanding of the collaboration opportunities and potential for greater visitor experiences. This is clear from their curation of the participants and business visits along with the facilitation of the discussion during the day to make a relevant connection between each business and their products or services,” he explained.
Interested in participating in an upcoming Industry Immersion Day? For more information, contact [email protected].