Gympie Recreational Vehicle Strategy, 2018

  • Project Name: Gympie Recreational Vehicle Strategy, 2018

  • Location: Gympie, QLD

Understanding opportunities for RV tourism through pop-up community engagement – Gympie Recreational Vehicle Strategy

The Context

The Gympie region has always been a popular destination for recreational vehicle (RV) users. It’s located near to Brisbane but offers a diverse tourism experience rich in nature and wildlife, including a dramatic coastline and large areas of state and national park.

While it’s already a popular destination, the Gympie Regional Council felt that there were options to improve and promote the Gympie region to better attract more RV users to the area. They wanted to understand how users currently viewed the RV facilities and services in the area, explore different ways to enhance the infrastructure and services, promote the region and improve the overall experience.

The Engagement

Engagement Plus engaged key stakeholders and the wider community to understand what would be important to include in the draft Recreational Vehicle (RV) Strategy. This strategy would then guide key actions and projects for Council’s capital works program, services to support RV visitors and to find opportunities to attract RV travellers.

The Objectives

The key purposes of this engagement were:

  • to discover how users and the community viewed the current RV sites (both commercial and free/low cost) and other RV facilities in the region
  • review existing RV facilities and establish defined locations
  • review the desired level of infrastructure and services for recreational vehicle sites throughout the region
  • to encourage RV travellers to visit and stay in the Gympie region by identifying promotional opportunities and information channels.

The Approach

The engagement activities occurred throughout November and December 2018 and were completed in two phases.

Phase One: Targeted Interviews + Pop-Up Engagement Activities + Surveys

In the first phase we met with individual stakeholders for targeted interviews, launched pop-up engagement activities and collected information via survey. The pop-up engagement activities were held at camp sites and council offices. This was extremely successful because it let us engage with RV users directly, in places where they tended to visit.

Overall our goal was to interact with the general community, the government, those in the RV and tourism industries and, of course, RV travellers. We wanted to understand their respective interests, and their role in supporting RV tourism, their views and ideas on current RV stay options and facilities in the region, and on increasing free and low-cost RV travel and stays throughout the region.

Phase Two: Feedback on the Draft Strategy

Once we gathered the initial information, we wrote the draft Gympie Regional Council RV Strategy 2019. A second round of engagement was undertaken with stakeholders and the general community on the draft Strategy. We also sent out hard and electronic copies and copies online in order to get a wide variety of feedback from stakeholders and the general community on the draft Strategy.

We collated and analysed that feedback which was used in the development of the strategy.

The Outcomes

We had fantastic engagement with stakeholders and the community in this project. A total of 533 responses were received during our engagement. Targeted interviews and pop-up engagements in places that RV users would frequent enabled us to gather a wide range of views and responses. Overall there were 339 RV traveller surveys and 174 community surveys returned. Individual interviews were held with nine commercial operators, four government agencies and three tourism industry representatives.

In our final report we included a summary of the engagement outcomes with information on potential management models of sites, popular site features, tourism and promotion of sites and a hierarchy of facilities and services analysis. Our report helped council make important, strategic decisions with regard to RV tourism and create the RV strategy for the Gympie region.

Lessons Learned

This engagement was a great example of the power of pop-up engagement activities. Place-based engagement activities, like stalls at parks or shopping centres, or in our case, campsites, are an incredibly potent way to dive deeper with key stakeholders, and the general community. They can get you information that you might otherwise miss, enabling you to make fantastic data-driven decisions for your project.

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Pop up engagement activities help you dive deeper into the minds of your stakeholders and the community to gather vital insights into your project. Get in touch to see how Engagement Plus can help you today.