Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

Beyond the South Australian tourism spiel

A grab from the famous Barossa tourism ad

IF you've been anywhere near a TV or newspaper in the last year you'll know our tourism commission has poured millions into spruiking SA to the rest of the world.
Some states would have stopped at a spiffy new logo, with a wide inviting door over its entrance, but our tourism chiefs were just warming up.
In May, the commission unveiled its now-famous TV spot for the Barossa and last month announced a new push to showcase the sights and delights of the Yorke Peninsula.
Then, we found out Barossa Tourism had gone out of its way to make sure a certain UK boy band headed in its direction during its run of Adelaide shows to enjoy a spot of golf, meet half the city's population of teenage girls and, most importantly, to tweet about it all.
I haven't seen the numbers, but recent efforts to sell SA may well be working beautifully.
If nothing else, the Barossa ad, a slick, beautifully produced piece of work of sloshing milk, gooey cheese and Nick Cave for a soundtrack , has, on the whole, had a positive response and won high-praise as a piece of advertising from people who should know.
Much of the push has been on our regions, and on the natural advantages that truly make South Australia world-class; our sun and sea, our food and wine.
But recently, when I found myself in charge of showing some family friends from England a good time on a brief stopover, it became painfully clear that it's going to take a lot more than a new logo and couple of TV ads to make Adelaide a must on any tourist's itinerary.
Let's face it, when it comes to tourist attractions in the city proper, unless you're a serious foodie, are in the mood for shopping or keen to spend the best part of a $100 taking the family to the zoo, how much is there to do in Adelaide, really?
And what if your charges aren't interested in a drive to Hahndorf or the wine regions?
This was my dilemma some two weekends ago.
Thank God for China Town and the Central Markets, is all I can say; one of Australia's best and a trusty fall-back for any struggling tour guide.
None of this is to say that Adelaide has nothing going for it whatsoever.
A few months ago, I spent a very enjoyable (and educational) day at the South Australian Museum with my nephews, visiting from out of town.
The three of them had a ball in the animal hall and Egyptian room and I spent hours studying the artefacts and innovation of our Aboriginal cultures. I hadn't visited for years and the whole thing felt new and interesting.
But where am I going to take my nephews next time they're in town?
In my last column I wrote how Adelaide, blanketed in roadworks from end to end, was suffering the growing pains of a city finally growing up. And that the popping up of new, small bars was the sign of a city becoming denser and more culturally interesting. And I meant it.
But funky new bars and restaurants by themselves are not enough to give Adelaide the kind of variety that will convince visitors to turn a quick two-day trip into a leisurely week.
There's a maxim in media that holds that "Content is King" and I suspect it applies to tourism too.
It's the idea that a place is only as interesting as the stuff there is to do there, just like a newspaper is only as interesting as the stories in it.
It's why Adelaide's famous festivals and successful visiting exhibitions such as Turner from the Tate are so important, culturally and economically.
We need more of them, year round. And when we do that, the marketing will take care of itself.
If nothing else, the Barossa ad, a slick, beautifully produced piece of work of sloshing milk, gooey cheese and Nick Cave for a soundtrack , has, on the whole, had a positive response and won high-praise as a piece of advertising from people who should know.
Much of the push has been on our regions, and on the natural advantages that truly make South Australia world-class; our sun and sea, our food and wine.
But recently, when I found myself in charge of showing some family friends from England a good time on a brief stopover, it became painfully clear that it's going to take a lot more than a new logo and couple of TV ads to make Adelaide a must on any tourist's itinerary.
Let's face it, when it comes to tourist attractions in the city proper, unless you're a serious foodie, are in the mood for shopping or keen to spend the best part of a $100 taking the family to the zoo, how much is there to do in Adelaide, really?
And what if your charges aren't interested in a drive to Hahndorf or the wine regions?
This was my dilemma some two weekends ago.
Thank God for China Town and the Central Markets, is all I can say; one of Australia's best and a trusty fall-back for any struggling tour guide.
None of this is to say that Adelaide has nothing going for it whatsoever.
A few months ago, I spent a very enjoyable (and educational) day at the South Australian Museum with my nephews, visiting from out of town.
The three of them had a ball in the animal hall and Egyptian room and I spent hours studying the artefacts and innovation of our Aboriginal cultures. I hadn't visited for years and the whole thing felt new and interesting.
But where am I going to take my nephews next time they're in town?
In my last column I wrote how Adelaide, blanketed in roadworks from end to end, was suffering the growing pains of a city finally growing up. And that the popping up of new, small bars was the sign of a city becoming denser and more culturally interesting. And I meant it.
But funky new bars and restaurants by themselves are not enough to give Adelaide the kind of variety that will convince visitors to turn a quick two-day trip into a leisurely week.
There's a maxim in media that holds that "Content is King" and I suspect it applies to tourism too.
It's the idea that a place is only as interesting as the stuff there is to do there, just like a newspaper is only as interesting as the stories in it.
It's why Adelaide's famous festivals and successful visiting exhibitions such as Turner from the Tate are so important, culturally and economically.
We need more of them, year round. And when we do that, the marketing will take care of itself.
This column was first published in The City Messenger and on advertiser.com.au