Port Arthur presented to the World in Mexico City

February 16, 2009

Tasmania, and specifically the Port Arthur Historic Site, has once again received international attention, at a seminar on Building Destination Attractiveness through Cultural Tourism in Mexico City last month.

A paper, prepared by Tourism Tasmania and the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, was presented at the invitation of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Only two other locations around the world, besides Tasmania, were invited to present at the seminar, Amalfi, Italy and the host location, Mexico City.

Port Arthur Historic Site has become one of the most visited attractions in Tasmania, leading to significant benefits for the local and wider community. A strong focus on delivering high quality visitor experiences has contributed to this success.

The invitation is also important recognition of the well developed cooperative management approach undertaken in developing the wider destination for visitors. This has involved many partners including the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, Tasman Council, local community, local tourism association, and State Government, particularly Tourism Tasmania and the Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and Arts.

Australia’s representative at the seminar was Dr. Claire Ellis, Director of Infrastructure and Industry Development. Dr Ellis will join fellow speakers John Fahey (President of National Geographic) and Nobel Laureate in Literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, on the speaker’s podium.

Dr. Ellis discussed Australia’s rich cultural past, and the way in which acknowledging, conserving, interpreting and integrating this into our contemporary life is critical and what Tasmania is doing in these areas to strengthen our locations both as places for people to live and work as well as to visit.

Dr. Ellis also emphasised that, as for every country of the world, there are many demands on budgets, and so recurrent funding programmes for natural and cultural heritage must be well supported by regular and ongoing reports, research and statutory performance monitoring.

The Port Arthur Historic Site’s recurrent funding from State Government has been critical in allowing long term planning and upgrades of the conservation and visitor experiences at the Site, bringing increased economic and social returns to the surrounding area and Tasmania more broadly.

The paper highlights how the Port Arthur Historic Site remains an outstanding example of how conservation needs and requirements of tourism can be successfully balanced and managed. One of the hallmarks of this success has been the recent inclusion of the Port Arthur Historic Site on the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Nomination.