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Kangaroo Island National Landscape Strategic Tourism Plan

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Quentin Chester
12:22 AM ET (US)
Only just heard about the plan. Not time to respond to the document detail but here are some thoughts. Firstly just a bit of background I’m a travel and nature writer who covers places like Kangaroo Island for magazines including Australian Geographic & Wild. Since moving here four years ago I’ve also worked in tourism, hospitality and for National Parks as an interp guide at Cape Willoughby Lighhouse.

Based on contact with travellers, most people – especially from interstate and overseas – visit KI for the access to nature and wildlife.

Two defining key features about KI’s wildlife:
• Visitors can encounter a huge diversity of life on land and sea.
• Given this diversity - plus the profusion of animals like kangaroos and wallabies - visitors are guaranteed some kind of wildlife experience.
A visitor to Uluru or Kakadu will spot birdlife and, in the case of Kakadu, crocodiles, but most will never see a kangaroo, possum, goanna or echidna, and certainly not seals, dolphins, whales or penguins.

The other KI hallmark is that the ‘nature experience’ is available throughout the island’s landscapes. The spread of native vegetation Kangaroo Island, lack of development and small human population create multiple opportunities for visitors to connect with nature.

For me the most important tourism priority is to protect the quality of the island’s existing natural assets. That includes practical conservation efforts, plus a watchful eye on any development that could damage the island’s international brand.

Based on my contact with visitors the experiences they find most memorable are those that are unplanned and unexpected – the spontaneous, surprising encounters with wildlife and landscapes. We need to protect the freedom that people enjoy to make their own discoveries.

The key concept here is ‘Letting nature speak for itself.’ There is always be a place for a few structured wildlife sites like those at Seal Bay and Raptor Domain. But what’s not required are elaborate visitor centres, animal sideshows or theme-park style developments. In other words – don’t mess with nature.
What is needed, however, are some upgrades to enhance the visitor experience and improve access. This wish-list includes:

• Much better food and accommodation options, especially in more outlying areas.
• More visitor information – maps, driving notes, current events and road updates.
• Additional walking trails – for example one in the Antechamber Bay/Cape Willoughby area, a loop walk to the new Flinders Chase extension at Cape Younghusband, and an extension of the Ravine des Casoars walk to follow the coast to Cape Borda.
• All-weather sealed road to Cape Willoughby – this would transform the year-round viability of local tourism enterprises on the Dudley Peninsula.
• More travel incentives – and even subsidy – to lift visitation from May to October.

Thanks and good luck, Quentin
Craig Wickham
07:15 PM ET (US)
Hi Sharon,
Thanks for your positive comments - would really like to chat with you about ideas for timing, locations and structure of workshops that would meet your needs and those of other operators when it comes to the implementation of some of these actions.

Hi Beth,
Very valid concerns and you will be pleased to know that your views are quite consistent with everything we have heard in terms of key issues to address. Please keep involved with the process as the only way we can make a difference is for everyone to be engaged


claire ellisPerson was signed in when posted
06:18 PM ET (US)
Hi everyone - these are really useful comments so thanks very much for spending the time to read the doco and put some comments, queries, views up. We have had a lot of good comments come in through different forums and email etc so that's great. We are really looking forward to getting more and being able to quickly finalise the Plan in early June. It will include agreed priority actions and directions and these can then be used by our key funding partners in many of the projects that involve tourism that are either underway or starting soon.
Beth Bald
08:51 AM ET (US)
I agree with a lot of the general aims - spreading the visitors throughout the year, increasing activities and developing more walking trails.
P15 - A more passive experience but one which is brilliant in spring is viewing wildflowers -best on small back roads or walking trails. We have excellent local books to aid the experience.
P18 - Local Museums provide stories and insights into the area which some visitors would find valuable if tourist operators encouraged them to visit.
P20 - I worry about the wildlife experience - there is a very great danger of putting wildlife at risk or changing their habits. Perhaps we need to have a few kangaroos in a fenced area for those in a hurry and let everyone else go for a twilight walk in a natural area. One big problem we have in our area is tourists stopping in the middle of a road, car doors open and walking out to photograph animals - have had several near misses [often on corners]. This needs more attention.
P 31 - The cost of sea travel needs to be addressed urgently for locals and visitors. Air travel is important for some of our community and if larger planes are encouraged I can see a twice weekly service for tourists and that is all - if we can't fill planes now how will we then? Specialist services to the Island are limited now in the winter season because of no early morning plane - what is next?
 P 33 - Power, water and roads I see as the biggest issues - before looking to increase visitor numbers these issues need to be addressed and the biggest of these or perhaps the most obvious to locals every day is the upkeep of roads - are our rates going to be increased over and over to cope with the wear and tear? Cost of transport to the Island and the upkeep of the roads need to be addressed before anything else.
Edited 05-08-2013 08:53 AM
Sharon Simons
01:06 AM ET (US)
Hi this is Sharon from Clifford's Honey Farm KI. I have had a quick read of this document and overall it looks positive and I would love to see it put into practice. My main points to see happen are - Pg 26 the point IC1.6 regarding working with existing businesses to improve service standars including opening times. This is important because we are open everyday except christmas day and we hear so many people complaing about how they have come here and places are closed for winter and they are dissapointed. I understand that places have to close sometimes but this needs work so that it can be better managed so that they are perhaps not shut at the same times?? big problem to solve I know. But it is a viscious cycle as people close because it is quiet then visitors don't come because they hear that places are closed. Also pg 37 re BSD3 business skills development, customer service. There could be more customer service training with free courses available at different locations and times to suit more people. If less than half of the visitors to KI are happy with there customer service then that is not good enough as they will not come back for another holiday. I look forward to hearing more about this project as it is put into practice.
Ross Corbett
12:41 AM ET (US)
Hi everyone - this is Ross Corbett, TRC Tourism who is working with Claire Ellis and the Project Control Group of TKI, DEWNR and others on the Draft Strategic Tourism Plan. Please submit your specific comments here in Quick Topic. We're looking forward to hearing from you! Thanks so much. Ross