Photo: Lonely Planet Guide to Shanghai.
Frankly, most Australian regional areas are absolutely hopeless when it comes to selling their own story. This is a pity, for when it comes to both official material and the conventional guide books, most regional areas get squeezed into a few sentences. How can you sell on this basis?
Then if you look at local material, this is also pretty hopeless, a series of disconnected pieces of paper generally focused on attractions in the main regional center. I get so frustrated at this. It is hard to get the story across that we can do better.
To illustrate what I mean, take the mainstream conventional guide book. If we were to apply this to, say, Armidale, we would have the following structure.
The first few pages might deal with general history and geography, the last pages with travellers tips.
The middle section might be broken into two part. The first might deal with Armidale, the second with the surrounds. Both would incorporate maps and photos. All sections would contain references to the area's unique culture.
Hang on, I can hear you say, unique culture? What is unique about Armidale?
Well, to the overseas visitor all of Australia is unique. Further, each area has its own very specific features. We need to point to both.
Once an English language version has been completed, then turn it into Chinese. That way, your visitors have something that will bring their trip back, an aid to memory.
There is a special problem here because many current publications are littered with ads. I can understand this. Most local tourism authorities are short of funds and look for anything that might help defray costs. Yet in most cases the ads both twist content and detract from reader enjoyment. You really need ad free if you are to get best results.
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