“When developing tourism trails and drives, understanding driver mindsets, visitors’ amenity needs ... and the psychology of road tourism behaviors, travel patterns & relationships ... becomes extremely important to success.”   - Bruce Dickson, TDS
Relevant research data and a strategic approach do matter ..
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Road Tourism 3: Themed trails and tourist drives - reality check   Understanding traveler mindsets: Occasionally even specially created 'themed trails' (focused on regional wines, heritage, etc.), when put to the test, do not fit readily or logically with actual visitor driving patterns. These may have lacked initial market research and ignored factors like visitors' time allocation & availability, or a preference for hub & spoke travel behaviour over trips involving lengthier loops, trails and circuits.   Alternatively, the actual extent of destination options or experiences desired by visitors may not be addressed properly, or sufficient attention given to visitors' related personal needs & trip aspirations - e.g. ease of accessibility, food and lodging choices, activities, getting off the beaten track, etc.   Some trails can lack a sufficient mix of wider visitor experiences - and have failed to tackle related strategic product development, rejuvenation and enhancement requirements.    (However trails in smaller or newly emerging wine regions - particularly when conveniently located near bustling cities - can be competitive with daytrippers and market niches seeking low stress 'short breaks' (or getaways), without the crowds, congested highways and 'over-development'.)   TOURISM DRIVES: Gaps can also exist in the way visitor information needs are perceived and met by some road & transport authorities for their official touring routes & tourism drives. Untapped opportunities commonly exist here. Examples include more informative and better positioned road signage, use of supporting ‘preview’ visual imagery, greater flexibility over regulations - with more effective en-route & destination promotion in mind.   Value of intensified state & regional cooperation   Success with road tourism requires productive forms of cooperation (not unthinking competition) between and within adjoining regions & states and all relevant agencies - if enhanced visitor respect and impact is truly desired. Practical research data of relevance - and a strategic approach to evaluating drives, travel patterns/trends and converting market & product opportunities  - will significantly help to focus local, regional and state development actions. And lead to more exceptional outcomes.
Available TDS Road Tourism Development Services:   Touring Route, Map & Trail experience audits, reviews & assessments. Including priority recommendations for enhancement. Drive tourism strategies for regions and destinations. Themed trails development.            Self-drive user based, tourism website & visitor guide assessments.
© Tourism Development Solutions 2012
READ EXCERPT: TOURISM AUSTRALIA ROAD TOURISM STRATEGY
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