29 August 2022

Data innovations help visitors and operators THRIVE

Having relevant, robust data offers decision makers in the visitor economy insights to shape fantastic visitor experiences.

Data allows businesses in the visitor economy and government to:

  • develop products and services tailored to visitor needs and specific destinations
  • ensure infrastructure, signage and safety measures account for actual visitor numbers
  • provide real-time alerts about amenities and travel routes, with updates about challenges along the way
  • inform planning for local communities and businesses
  • target marketing to people ready to travel.

Today’s travellers are also more mindful of how they interact with the environment, Indigenous cultures and local communities. Service providers are increasingly aware of travel trends and are considering greater product, service and customer diversity.

New data sources and technologies are supporting all of this.

Data comes to life on the Apple Isle

Working with a local developer, a research team at the University of Tasmania has created Tourism Tracer. Tourism Tracer is a dynamic, visually appealing mobile app.

Using GPS technology and a survey, researchers can see who tourists are, and where, how and when they travel.

As soon as it was up and running, Tourism Tracer made a difference on the ground. Lead investigator Associate Professor Anne Hardy says the high number of drivers travelling hundreds of kilometres at night was a surprise. The team created Roadkill Reporter to tackle this critical risk to Tasmania’s unique nocturnal wildlife.

Tourism Tracer is bringing direct benefits for travellers to Tasmania’s busy Wineglass Bay. The app alerts users when the car park is full and points out attractions to enjoy nearby while they wait for a space. This enriches the visitor experience and reduces overcrowding at the destination. Tourism Tracer data has also helped Wineglass Bay locals plan for and manage visitors to the area.

Interest from around the world has resulted in the research concept becoming a commercial product. Hardy believes it is successful because its data is easy to understand and interpret.

Hardy explains, ‘We visualised the data with dots going around Tassie. People really loved it because it brought the data alive’.

Stats ahead in the Sunshine State

Any Australian tourism operator can create a profile in the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW). This helps tourism operators expand their online presence and increase customer bookings.

The Best of Queensland Experiences Program (BOQEP) was developed to motivate Queensland providers to keep active listings in the ATDW, and improve their businesses.

The BOQEP does this by assessing and scoring each listed Queensland product and service. It allocates points for:

  • exceptional service delivery
  • secure online booking platforms
  • an engaging social media presence
  • regional industry organisation memberships
  • industry accreditation.

The program creates individual reports based on the results. Each report shows how well a product or service meets industry and customer standards.

Products and services that achieve above a set standard qualify as a ‘Best of Queensland Experience’. They are listed in Tourism and Events Queensland’s preferred operator database. They also receive priority marketing and a presence on Queensland.com.

Austrade’s own data star

Austrade’s Tourism Research Australia (TRA) produces data and insights to support visitor economy recovery and growth. It has been producing national visitor economy data for 35 years.

TRA conducts regular national and international traveller surveys. It looks at activities in local regions, and national and international trends.

TRA also looks at broad issues and trends such as responsible tourism that emerge from data insights.

Visitor economy operators can benefit from a range of free TRA reports. Visit the TRA website to find out how its research and data can help you.

Growing the visitor economy

THRIVE 2030 is Australia’s national strategy for the long-term, sustainable growth of the visitor economy.