Region put on show

ALL AROUND THE WORLD: Coonawarra Experience's Simon Meares has been showcasing the Limestone Coast to international tourism specialists.

Charlotte Varcoe

NATIONAL and international stakeholders were reminded of the natural wonders surrounding the Limestone Coast earlier this month as two major regional tourist specialists attended the Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney.

Limestone Coast Local Government Association (LCLGA) destination development officer Biddie Shearing was joined by Coonawarra Experiences owner Simon Meares as the two banded together to sell the tourist attractions of the region.

The two tourist experts spent a number of days in the heart of Sydney – prior to its current COVID-19 crisis – as they met with over 50 representatives from across the country while also tying in with international investors as well.

Contributing to the 10-minute sit down discussions Mr Meares and Ms Shearing presented highlights of the Limestone Coast and what attractions are available within the wider region.

“We were certainly building on the multi-day options and putting together activities and bespoking experiences especially in regards to the Coonawarra wineries,” Mr Meares said.

“Outside of wine touring we centered around discount stays which encourages people to spend three to four nights in the region and experience our natural wonders across the region.”

Since attending the conference Mr Meares has been in deeper discussions with international representatives, buyers and sellers via video link including those interested in the natural wonders of the region and those who are able to include the Limestone Coast into travellers itineraries.

“It was all about getting our name underneath them and talking about the Limestone Coast and what we are all about here, letting them know we are open for business when everyone is open to travel and using that as a way of getting then to speak with their customers and build a package which would include experiences here,” he said.

Ms Shearing said the overall exchange was deemed successful for the Limestone Coast and congratulated Mr Meares on using the opportunity to reinforce the experiences on offer across the region.

“As a region we have attended this event every year but this is the first time we have had a tourism business commit to that and attend with their own appointment schedule,” Ms Shearing said.

“We are able to reach more people about the region but in general terms, having been there many times, there is a real understanding about where the Limestone Coast is and those areas we are famous for,” she said.

“We were featured well in a recent South Australian tourism campaign and that developed a greater understanding as to where we are and what we have to offer, and because of that I felt like we didn’t have to sell the region as hard this year.”

Despite the hard border closures continuing throughout the nation, Ms Shearing said the LCLGA had recorded strong tourism numbers for the region including areas such as Kingston.

“Looking forward bookings are looking promising and when the borders were open between South Australia and Victoria we were seeing more people doing that Melbourne to Adelaide drive that brings them to our beautiful region.”