In our globally connected world, ‘all destinations are competing not only for tourists but also for export markets, business investment, education services and skilled migrants’ (Hulsbosch, 2011).
Globalisation has meant that the offerings of many destinations are increasingly homogenous.
Branding provides a way of creating a unique identity through relationship building and emotional appeal, rather than differentiation on the basis of functional qualities.
While destination branding draws on principals from product marketing there are some important differences.
This is a more obvious requirement in some sectors, such as tourism, where countries develop hospitality industries and infrastructure such as convenient airport facilities. However, such marketing concepts increasingly apply to countries as a whole.
Nearly all successful communities can quickly identify their “brand.” They draw on their comparative advantages to find ways of encouraging growth by attracting the people, businesses, education service and investment they need.
Hulsbosch (2011) suggests acting and thinking globally as one of his destination branding tips, advising that brand identity and all related promotional activities must appeal across cultural groups.
Cultural tourism gives visitors the opportunity to understand and appreciate the essential character of a place and its culture as a whole, including:
- People and their lifestyle
- Cultural diversity
- Arts and architecture
- Food, wine and other local produce
(Foo & Rossetto, 1998, p.63)
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES OF CULTURAL TOURISM
The Creative Nation document from the Commonwealth Cultural Policy of 1994 describes cultural tourism as ‘embracing the full range of experiences visitors can undertake to learn what makes a destination distinctive - its lifestyle, its heritage, its arts, its people - and the business of providing and interpreting that culture to visitors’ (Small Business Development Corporation, N/A).
Cultural tourism gives visitors the opportunity to understand and appreciate the essential character of a place and its culture as a whole. It builds on and markets cultural strengths, emphasises the quality and authenticity of the visitor’s experience, conveys the richness and diversity of a place or culture and is active and involving for both visitors and host communities (Tourism Western Australia, 2006). Cultural tourism develops visitor and site management programs, can minimise the environmental degradation and cultural exploitation which accompany some forms of tourism and is carefully targeted to meet the interests of particular market segments (Tourism Western Australia, 2006).
CULTURAL TOURISM ATTRACTIONS
Not all cultural products will be tourist attractions. The ability to attract visitors depends on the extent to which they meet, or are able to meet, the following criteria:
- perceived quality of the product
- market awareness of the product
- customer service attitude - provides level of facilities and services that meets the needs of its visitors
- extent to which the product is perceived as unique or special
- extent to which the product is perceived to provide a pleasurable experience and an enjoyable way for customers to spend their leisure time
- development and presentation to realise this potential
- community support and involvement
- management commitment and capability
(Tourism Western Australia, 2006)
Cultural tourism gives visitors the opportunity to understand and appreciate the essential character of a place and its culture as a whole, including its history, people and their lifestyle, architecture, food, wine and other local produce, and landscape (Tourism Western Australia, 2006). It gives access to information, experience and activities which can create ‘a relationship between the visitor and the host community... Concepts of sustainability, authenticity, integrity and education are as central to cultural tourism as they are to ecotourism’ (Tourism Western Australia, 2006).
Entrepreneurial activity is heavily influenced by the cultural environment surrounding entrepreneurs. Renowned Australian winemaker Bob Oatley was cruising past Hamilton Island aboard a yacht during the early stages of development and recognised the potential of the island (Hamilton Island Enterprises, 2014a). The Global Centre for Cultural Entrepreneurship (2010, p.2) states cultural enterprises are ‘cultural change agents and resourceful visionaries who generate revenue from a cultural activity. Their innovative solutions result in economically sustainable cultural enterprises that enhance livelihoods, and create cultural value and wealth for both creative producers and consumers of cultural services and products’.
The Oatley Family now own and operate Hamilton Island Enterprises including the majority of accommodation and businesses on the island (Hamilton Island Air, 2014). The sailing tradition comes from patriarch Bob Oatley, ‘who made the family fortune with a top-of-the-market sale of the bulk of his Rosemount Estate Wines to Southcorp in 2001 for a reported $1.5 billion’ (Jackson, 2013).
[F]lush with cash from the Rosemount deal, the Oatleys bought the island for about $200 million, with [Bob’s son, Alexander) overseeing its development. Since then the family has spent $350m, adding the yacht club, the marina precinct and the luxury resort Qualia, which alone cost $100m to build, as well as an 18-hole golf course on neighbouring Dent Island. They have also upgraded the airport, which now takes 45 commercial flights a week, and built an accredited training college, improving retention rates among the 1000-odd staff. Special events such as Race Week account for about 10 per cent of Hamilton's 327,000 annual visitors’ (Jackson, 2013).
Hamilton Island is used almost exclusively for tourism, but also ‘caters for a growing number of residents, both employees of the various businesses on the island and also those people choosing to retire and enjoy the Whitsunday lifestyle’ (Hamilton Island Air, 2014). It is the gateway to 74 Whitsunday Islands situated in the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest cluster of corals and other exotic marine life (MPAtlas, N/A).
AUDI HAMILTON ISLAND RACE WEEK
Hamilton Island Race Week was founded in 1983 (Hamilton Island Enterprises, 2014b), and has been growing in popularity every year. ‘The first Race Week event was held in April 1984, when the island had only begun trading and was far from finished’ (Hamilton Island Enterprises, 2014b).
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is one of Australia’s favourite yachting events and a firm fixture on the international sailing calendar. Competitors, family and friends come together to enjoy the convivial atmosphere and unique camaraderie of the event’s on-water and off-water carnival. Every August, spectators and yachties from around the globe sail to Hamilton Island for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta.
(Hamilton Island Enterprises, 2014c)
‘Tourism destinations are built on things that give a place its own distinctive character and that separate it out from other destinations. These factors are lifestyle, heritage, cultural activities, landscape, flora and fauna. They are the basic tourism product of any destination’ (Tourism Western Australia, 2009).