A NATIONAL Tourism Planning Guide that provides a resource and practical advice to assist planners in their consideration of tourism development was released last week by Tourism Ministers during their Ministerial Council meeting in Darwin.
The Guide aims to help planners streamline tourism investment and was funded through a TQUAL grant to the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF).
Recognising that the planning system has a vital role to play in facilitating the development and improvement of tourism, the Guide aims to achieve a good practice approach to achieving the strategic alignment of plan-making, planning policy development and the approval process, as it relates to the supply-side of tourism.
The Guide is primarily designed to ensure that planners understand, and take into account, the importance of tourism and to ensure that planners and the tourism industry effectively work together to facilitate and deliver new tourism developments.
"The National Tourism Planning Guide is a good example of the work of Australian Governments' through the National Long Term Tourism Strategy to identify barriers to tourism investment and put in place measures to reduce them," Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said.
"By providing a tool for local and state government planners, the Guide will assist with decision making regarding approvals for new tourism developments such as hotels, cellar doors, restaurants, tourism attractions or resorts."
Mr Ferguson said the Guide makes a clear case for considering the impacts of urban and regional planning decisions on tourism.
The Guide identifies a number of challenges faced by the tourism industry when dealing with planning systems and states that the key challenges are largely the consequence of a lack of awareness by planners and policy makers of the tourism industry.
The challenges identified in the Guide include:
- The complexity in defining tourism as a land use activity, a poor understanding of the tourism product and the lack of effective guidance that allows for effective and informed decision making in the approval process;
- A general lack of understanding regarding the strategic economic, social and environmental value of tourism when planning for key infrastructure;
- The lack of formal institutional arrangements coordinating State Tourism Organisations and planning authorities; and
- A limited policy focus that does not recognise tourism as an activity that brings with it a land use dimension.
The Guide outlines a methodology to address the supply-side of tourism through the plan-making process, the formulation of State and Regional planning responses and through the formulation of local planning responses.