Individual attractions eligibility

An individual attraction is a place or feature of interest to visitors. It can be either a built structure or a natural feature. It should be capable of drawing tourists and satisfying their expectations by providing a tangible visitor experience and reasonable level of visitor amenity. The NTSRG has determined 10 core criteria for individual attractions. To ensure consistency, all attractions must meet the core criteria and any additional specific category criteria outlined in sections 2.1.3 to 2.1.11. 

Core criteria

Visitors who follow “white on brown” tourist signs must be assured that the quality of the attraction is of a high standard. The visitor experience is therefore the primary consideration when determining eligibility for tourist signing. To maintain visitor confidence in tourist signing, all tourist attractions must meet the following core criteria before tourist signs can be considered:

  1. The attraction must be well established and operating as a tourist facility.

    The attraction should provide a significant tourism experience i.e. be more than just a retail outlet and have a strong commitment to serving tourists.

  2. Government approvals

    Attractions must have all relevant local, state and commonwealth approvals to operate.

  3. Pre-booking must not be required to visit the attraction.

    It is expected that tourist attractions warranting signing will cater for casual visitors, without the need for pre-booking. This avoids inconvenience to tourists and ensures a satisfactory visitor experience. While it is acceptable for attractions to require pre-booking for coach groups, it must be demonstrated that the experiences on offer are also available to casual visitors.

  4. Opening Times.

    Attractions are expected to be open daily or at least for a minimum of five days a week, including weekends and Public Holidays (excluding Good Friday and Christmas Day). It is generally expected that attractions will be open during the main daylight hours for a minimum of six hours, eg. 10 am to 4 pm.

  5. Parking.

    Adequate car parking must be available either on-site or within close and convenient proximity to the attraction. It is generally expected that designated car parking will be provided on-site, clear of the road and verge and be able to cater for buses, tourist coaches and, if necessary, cars with caravans. While on-site parking is desirable in urban areas, if this is not feasible, then adequate on or off-street parking needs to be provided within a convenient distance of the attraction. Adequacy of car parking is assessed on a case by case basis.

  6. Interpretation.

    Attractions must provide visitors with high quality interpretation. The methods and means to enable visitors to engage more deeply with an experience or activity may differ widely, but the following are examples:

    • Guided tour
    • Self guided tour brochure
    • Audio tour
    • Brochure/ pamphlet
    • Labels/ text panels
    • Annotated displays, etc.

    It is not acceptable for attractions or product clusters to rely solely on verbal interpretation provided by an operator or staff member (refer clause 2.2

  7. Toilets.

    All attractions are required to provide conveniently located toilet facilities and comply with disability access legislation.

  8. The entry to the property must be clearly identified

    Signing of the business at its entrance by the owner/ manager should clearly identify the name of the attraction. This name will be used on the white on brown directional signing. The attraction sign at the property line should provide information about the opening arrangements, such as days/ hours of operation, and contact details.

  9. Marketing collateral

    Attractions should be supported by a wide variety of marketing collateral material, including a brochure available from the nearest visitor information centre. The brochure needs to clearly state the street address, opening days and hours, and contact phone numbers. It should also include a map that provides clear navigation to the attraction, without relying entirely on signs.

  10. Seasonal attractions

    Attractions not open all year, must open for a minimum of nine months of the year to be eligible for permanent signing. An attraction open for less than 9 months of the year that seeks tourist signing needs to prove why it legitimately cannot deliver a year-round experience, eg climatic seasonal factors that affect the quality of the experience.

    Where a seasonal activity e.g. wildlife viewing, is signed, it is expected that relevant interpretative panels/ displays will be provided to explain the experience, so that it can be appreciated by visitors even at times when it cannot be seen or undertaken. Where no interpretative/ information displays are provided, signs should not be allowed.

    Signs for approved seasonal attractions should indicate the months of operation. Signs should not indicate closed dates and should not indicate opening hours. See the sample sign below for signing of seasonal attractions

Desirable criteria

National accreditation

A new national tourism accreditation framework, marketed as T-QUAL Accreditation, has been developed by government and industry to promote quality experiences for tourism consumers by recognising sustainable and capable tourism businesses and operators nationally.

A national symbol of quality, the T-QUAL Tick, identifies the tourism businesses and operators in Australia that have been endorsed as meeting the quality standards of T-QUAL Accreditation and provides one national symbol for consumers to be able to recognise quality products and services easily.

Currently, tourism accreditation is desirable, but is not core. Attractions or product categories gain accreditation via the relevant industry approved program.

Future reviews of these guidelines consider whether T-QUAL Accreditation should be included as an additional criterion for tourism road signing.

Membership

It is desirable that attraction operators participate in the activities of the local and/ or regional tourism organisation.  The business should be listed on the relevant State/ Territory tourism organization product database, which feeds the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse.

Art Galleries and Craft Outlets

Art galleries and craft outlets form a major component of tourism infrastructure in Australia. They may be operated as public facilities, like the major public galleries, or as commercial galleries, featuring a broad range of media, including wood, glass, ceramics, jewellery, metal, textile/ fabrics and mixed media, usually locally sourced and operated.

This category does not include museums, which are subject to the requirements of section 2.1.4

Specific criteria

Galleries

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, art galleries must also meet the following criteria:

  • Have a professionally presented exhibition space greater than 50 m2. Galleries with exhibition spaces less than 50m² are considered to be retail shops rather than galleries,
  • More than 30% of the art/ craft works displayed must be by local and or regional artists.

Art/ craft outlets

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, art and craft outlets must also meet the following criteria:

  • Be a studio type gallery, featuring a resident artist/ craftsperson,
  • Display a production process, together with associated interpretation,
  • Have a professionally presented exhibition space greater than 50 m2. Art/ craft outlets with exhibition spaces less than 50m² are considered to be retail shops rather than Art/ craft outlets,
  • More than 30% of the art/ craft works displayed must be by local and or regional artists.

Museums

The museum category includes local history museums, museums devoted to specialised collections or topics, or major state and national museums.

For the purpose of these guidelines, the term “museum” does not include collections of artworks, such as paintings, sculpture etc. These are classed as galleries, and are assessed under section 2.1.3.

Museums must have a collection of adequate size and quality. The collection needs to be displayed in a way that enables visitors to gain an appreciation of its technical, social or cultural significance.

Specific criteria

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, museums must also meet the following criteria:

  • Coherent displays/ presentations which relate to the local community and its identity, or to a specific theme,
  • Displays of adequate substance, quality or significance to convey knowledge of the particular theme or identity to visitors,
  • Management policies and practices that ensure the collection, its display and interpretation, are maintained to a high standard.
  • Represent a specific theme. Applicants must demonstrate how the collections or displays represent a particular theme or local/ regional identity.
  • Adequate exhibition space. The exhibition space must be greater than 50m².

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Attractions

Attractions in this category reflect the rich and diverse culture and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. They may include sites that have historic or contemporary significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Centres and sites in this category may typically be owned or operated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people / communities, employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or have received consent from appropriate Indigenous people/ organisations.

Care needs to be exercised in striking a balance between the desires of visitors and the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Specific criteria

  • In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, written approval from the relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisation must be obtained in order to display directional signs to these attractions

Historic Sites, Buildings, Monuments etc.

Visits to historic sites, buildings and monuments have long been an important element of the tourism experience. Historic sites, buildings or monuments that can be regarded as eligible tourist attractions will generally demonstrate one or more of the following qualities:

  • Provide significant insight into former lives and circumstances,
  • Paint a picture of significant historic events or settlement patterns,
  • Represent historically significant lifestyles or styles of architecture, garden design or landscaping,
  • Serve to illustrate the ways in which past generations lived, worked and pursued recreational and other interests,
  • Commemorate the achievements of individual Australians and/ or generations of Australian families.

Specific criteria

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, approval must be gained from the relevant State/ Territory heritage authority/ office before signing to historic sites, homes and monuments can be granted.

Wineries

The Australian wine industry is the fourth-largest exporter in the world, exporting over 400 million litres a year to a large international market. Australia’s wineries have an enviable reputation for quality and as popular destinations for visitors.

These guidelines recognise that most eligible wineries may not have an on-site winemaking facility at the cellar door/ vineyard. It is also acknowledged that most wineries are primarily operated for commercial production, and that the tourism component may not be the most lucrative aspect of the business. Notwithstanding, tourism signing will only be granted to wineries where the reasonable expectation of visitors is met.

Specific criteria

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, wineries must also meet the following criteria:

  • There must be a purpose built facility for tasting (cellar door) and sales,
  • The tasting facility must be located where either:
    • Wine production processes can be viewed and interpreted,
    • Where the vineyard can be viewed and visited.

Primary and Secondary Industry

In addition to their economic contribution, some primary and secondary industries also offer a significant experience for visitors. The appeal generally relates to the production process itself. This may involve innovative or unusual technology, the size, scale or the opportunity for visitors to learn about industrial processes.

Attractions in this category generally involve an agricultural activity (e.g. lavender farm), brewery/ distillery or factory/ mill process (e.g. cheese factory).

It is acknowledged that primary and secondary industry attractions are primarily commercial operations and that the tourist component may not be the most lucrative aspect of the business. The economic contribution or the commercial element of an industry-based attraction in this category is not considered when assessing applications for tourist signs.  The experiences offered to visitors through viewing the processes and learning about the industry are the deciding factors.

In assessing attractions in this category, a useful question to ask is: would the attraction still warrant visitation if any retail component was removed e.g. sale of produce/ merchandise?

Specific criteria 

No additional specific criteria

Nature-based Attractions

Australia enjoys highly diverse and distinctive natural environments, including rainforests, deserts, mangrove swamps, eucalypt forests, grasslands and coastal reefs, many of which are renowned for their natural beauty and biodiversity. Access to significant natural areas allows visitors to undertake a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities and experiences.

For the purpose of these guidelines, the following are considered nature-based activities:

  • Walking tracks and boardwalks,
  • Natural features
  • Botanic gardens,
  • Zoos and wildlife parks.

Specific criteria

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, nature-based attractions must also meet the following criteria.

Attraction

Requirement

Walking tracks and boardwalks
  • Walking tracks must have clear markers
  • Well maintained and easily accessible.
  • Provide appropriate standards of safety.
Natural features
  • Approval of the owner, eg National Parks
  • Natural features include lookouts, waterfalls, lakes, waterways or other significant natural features.
Botanic gardens
  • No specific criteria
Zoos and wildlife parks
  • Must meet the licensing requirements of the relevant State/Territory authority

Theme parks

Attractions in this category reflect a wide variety of specific/ multiple themes. However, they are only eligible for white on brown directional signs when the theme is readily identifiable, consistent and integrated.

This category does not include sport and recreational facilities that primarily cater for the local community, including - but not limited to - sports based activities, go-karting, local amusement parks, skating rinks, bowling alleys, golf courses, mini golf, swimming complexes, sporting grounds, racecourses or trotting tracks.

Specific criteria

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, theme parks must also meet the following criteria.

  • Have an identifiable and consistent theme - Themes could include movie making, gold mining, wildlife, etc.

State Significant Attractions

State significant attractions are those that, by virtue of their size, nature or iconic status, enjoy a very high level of recognition by domestic and international visitors. They are inextricably associated with the image of the Australia and its states (e.g. Sydney Opera House, Movie World, Wet and Wild, etc).

Specific criteria

In addition to the core criteria outlined in Section 2.1.1, State significant attractions must also meet the following criteria:

  • The attraction must be open daily.

Note: Due to different guidelines and market share in each State/ Territory, no national benchmark regarding a required level of visitation in order to qualify as an attraction of State significance can be determined, as each State/Territory has its own visitation criteria.

Note: World Heritage sites.  World Heritage sites that offer an accessible and genuine tourism experience may receive State significant signage treatment because of their international profile. This also recognises the high frequency of first-time domestic and international visitors to them.