Resources & Communications
To create a tourist signing strategy that will be embraced by local businesses, road authorities and local communities, it is important to include the relevant parties, resource the task of responding to enquiries about tourist signs and communicate with industry.
The right resources
It’s important that a council clearly identifies tourist signing as a role, or at least as an assigned task, within its structure. This enables one person to take ‘ownership’ of the task, to develop an understanding of the industry, and to provide a recognised contact point for operators.
Some councils choose a traffic engineer, others a member of the planning team, or an economic development/tourism officer. While technical knowledge is part of the task, the officer must also be enthusiastic and have effective interpersonal skills.
Communication – keeping councils, road authorities and tourism groups talking
Communication is vital to creating and maintaining an equitable and effective tourist signing system. Even in smaller municipalities without a great deal of tourism product, it is important that regular communication take place between council officers, the State/Territory road authority officer and representatives of the local Regional and Local tourism associations. This may be formalised into a regular meeting, or it may simply be via telephone or email hook-up. The essential ingredient is that all parties communicate; the way it is achieved is less important.
Establish a Tourism Signing Reference Group
In larger regions, and/or where tourism plays an important economic or recreational role, a tourism signing reference group may be a good idea. A reference group should include representatives of road authorities, tourism associations and industry operators. It serves as a regular forum for discussion on navigation and signing issues and helps the road authority to adjudicate on contentious signing applications.
Such a group does not need to meet frequently, and its members should be chosen for their ability to take a wider view and to see tourism from a consumer perspective. There may be occasions when they will need to absent themselves from discussion about a competitor’s application, or to abstain from voting.