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RDO projects put IOT tourism in the spotlight

Number: A38/2020

Date: 26 August 2020

As Chair of the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) Regional Development Organisation (RDO), I am pleased to announce today a range of projects funded by the Australian Government to help the IOT tourism sector recover from COVID-19.

We understand the significant impact that Coronavirus and associated restrictions has had on tourism and the local economies.

The RDO will implement five new projects over the coming months to support tourism development on Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI).

These following initiatives were identified in the IOT tourism action plan commissioned by the RDO from the consultancy firm, Deloitte, and are aligned with the CI and CKI Strategic Plans. They include:

  • Creation of an IOT Destination Management Plan (DMP) and a comprehensive marketing strategy that targets the domestic market, taking into account the impact of COVID-19 on international travel to Australia. The DMP will for the first time articulate the tourism strategy for the IOT as a regional destination.  It will be developed in close consultation with tourism stakeholders and draw on previous marketing strategies developed by the CI and CKI Tourism Associations.
  • The DMP will inform the $445,000 IOT regional tourism marketing package recently announced by Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, the Hon Nola Marino MP, as part of the Australian Government's economic stimulus package to support the IOT. The package will ensure that as travel restrictions are lifted, the IOT is a destination of choice in a competitive domestic market.
  • Seed funding for the development of IOT regional tourism events such as food, cultural or music festivals that could continue as annual events. These events will be developed in consultation with the CI and CKI Tourism Associations and other key stakeholders.
  • Use of influencers as ambassadors for IOT tourism marketing campaigns in social media and traditional media platforms.
  • Development of a new IOT Strategic Investment Prospectus, focusing on diversified accommodation facilities.
  • Working in collaboration with Phosphate Resources Limited (PRL) to develop a design and construct plan for the first stage of an island-wide mountain bike trail on Christmas Island, which could support world-class mountain bike tourism.

The RDO and I look forward to keeping you up-to-date as these initiatives progress.

I am also excited to launch the RDO's new website at www.indianoceanterritories.com.au, which will be a ‘one-stop shop’ for prospective visitors and investors in the IOT, with links to many related websites. The RDO's first IOT Strategic Investment Prospectus is also available on the website.

The RDO, funded by the Australian Government, commissioned the IOT Tourism Review and Action Plan report from the Deloitte consultancy firm to inform the RDO on the future direction of tourism development in the IOT. The report and plan were developed prior to the impact of Coronavirus on the IOT and our economy and tourism sector but will continue to be leveraged where relevant as we support the IOT tourism sector through the current COVID situation and our future recovery. The Deloitte report is available on the IOT website at indianoceanterritories.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/IOT_Tourism_Review_July2020.pdf.

Natasha Griggs
Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands