THE release of Orange City Council’s 10-year tourism strategy has prompted plenty of discussion about how to market the city and a healthy questioning of whether the wine and food theme should be broadened to attract people with other interests.
There is no doubt that Orange’s reputation as a cool climate wine producer has grown in recent years, coinciding with a marketing push in Sydney with events like Taste Orange At Bondi.
Orange has also traded in the past on its heritage and parks and gardens with the slogan The Colour City, though it is harder to measure the success of this somewhat less focused branding exercise.
There are challenges in taking tourism to the next level, not the least being the lack of one major drawcard attractive enough to make Orange the destination, rather than a stop on a longer journey. Dubbo zoo is an example of the sort of major attraction around which a trip might be planned.
Those who think our links with Banjo Paterson are not exploited enough and our seasonal festivals need to be pitched to visitors rather than locals make a valid point. Wine, and to a lesser extent food, will be reason enough for some visitors to drive over the mountains but there are many for whom our cellar doors are not reason enough for a stop, let alone an overnight stay. Some of those could find our heritage and rich history attractive if we made more of it.
There are also questions about the range of accommodation available, particularly for caravan owners. The choice of facilities here for those who like a motoring holiday is poor.
There is great potential, but it lies in enhancing many attractions which in the past have been taken a little for granted.