Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Monday, November 13, 2006

An Apology - and a continuing frustration

It is almost a week since the my last post. My apologies. I have been working on certain stories but in doing so have become very frustrated.

I refer you to two stories posted on the Ndarala Group blog. The first story focuses on just what is required to build local tourism. The second story, frustrations of a tourism official, was generated by the first and deals with some of the practical on-ground problems involved in tourism development. Both stories were originally written in 2004 but remain relevant to day.

One of the things that we are trying to do with this blog is to make the interest and variety of the Australian regional experience accessible to a broader audience. In this context, I have just spent over eight hours researching a particular story, it would be unfair to name the story, only to finally give it away because of the paucity of on-line information.

There are tens of thousands of towns and localities throughout Australia. It is simply not possible to feature them all on this blog. To make the material really accessible, I need to work on larger areas, regions, or on themes linking a number of localities. This is where the problem comes in.

There are some good regional sites, South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula for example. There are a few thematic areas where sites such as wine diva, wine is the most developed, provide a national and regional picture that I can draw from. Too often, however, I have to do multiple searches checking multiple sites just to try to get basic information.

A core problem is the way in which even quite good local sites limit themselves just to an immediate area such as a council. Too often, they then provide just a topic based list of things with little interpretive material. Too few have any visual material that I can use. Too often, the focus is inward.

Does this matter? I think that it does, very much. If we want people to enjoy the Regional Australia experience whether for life or just to visit, we have to make it accessible to them, to attract their interest. Because so many people now use the web to find out information, the web front door becomes absolutely critical. And this is where Regional Australia is failing itself.

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