SCU investigates tourism clusters

SOUTHERN Cross University is investigating cross-border tourism across the Gold Coast-Tweed.

Doctoral candidate Joshua Hills is collecting data on tourism “clusters” and the benefits of clustering to the area’s tourism industry.

Opportunities for improvement will also be studied.

Mr Hills said cluster theory was a model which aimed to ensure businesses worked together efficiently to maximise the area’s competitiveness.

“While the potential benefit of tourism is widely recognised there is plenty of debate about how tourism should be managed at the local destination level to ensure the competitiveness of the region,” he said.

“In Switzerland for example they have successful watch-making clusters, and Silicon Valley is another example of the benefits of clustering.”

A major feature of clusters is members are not defined by political boundaries but common goals and activities.

Connecting Southern Gold Coast general manager Jim Wilson said in February cross-border meetings involving Mr Hills would occur with Destination Tweed and other organisations to address questions such as what were the opportunities for cooperation and what were the outcomes from those opportunities.

“They will be about genuine economic development opportunities,” Mr Wilson said.

“The southern Gold Coast does not need to jointly promote Tweed through any formal arrangement as we, they, and tourism businesses do that as a matter of course anyway in our own media and general activities.”

He said clear thinking, performance measurement and sharing of burdens from both sides of the border would be the priorities of any outcomes.

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