Region unites to tell new story
THE Whitsundays has had its fair share of media attention over the past few years.
Much of this has been positive, like the outstanding achievements of local tourism businesses and worldwide recognition for the region's spectacular natural assets.
Some however, has been the result of an onslaught of natural disasters, the impacts of which have been keenly felt in a tourism dependent economy.
Having fronted local, state, national and international media on numerous occasions, in good times and bad, Tourism Whitsundays chief executive officer Tash Wheeler and Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox shared the lessons of those experiences at a meeting on Tuesday.
The meeting was attended by representatives from industry, government bodies, local businesses and volunteer organisations, with the result a united resolve to adopt a regional best practice communication strategy.
Mrs Wheeler said those present at the meeting had identified communications challenges and opportunities, and would now work on solutions and a strategy.
"Although we've determined a number of resources already available to us, in some senses what we're embarking on is ground-breaking," she said.
"It's exciting to think this could not only assist our region but also create a framework that other destinations could adopt."
Cr Willcox said whatever situations arose, he was keen to work with all media to ensure accurate and balanced information entered the public domain.
"This is about Council, Tourism Whitsundays and all industry stakeholders improving how we communicate, both internally and externally, adopting best practice to ensure a proactive response to any disasters or incidents," he said.
"Bullet-proofing our brand with a united message will play a key role in allowing the region, and tourism stakeholders, to bounce back quicker from adversity."
Assisted by the Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association, Tourism Whitsundays will now compile a list of recommendations for a new communications committee to workshop.
Whitsunday Regional Council will also fund and organise media training workshops for local businesses to participate in.
The communications strategy will be shared across all relevant agencies, industries and stakeholders.