Community feedback on how to manage Noosa as a destination

The community has supported a significant rethink on the way the shire is managed as a tourist destination, to ensure Noosa Shire remains a wonderful place to live, work and visit.  
It was one of the strong directives to emerge from the six-week community engagement process from September 15 to October 29 2023 about the type of destination we want for the future. 
“Our community dedicated about 1300 hours of their time to provide feedback and we certainly appreciate the input,” Mayor Clare Stewart said. 
In total, 800 responded to the two online surveys, 300 people attended workshops, coffee chats and stakeholder meetings, while 67 direct submissions were provided. 
A report tabled at Thursday’s Ordinary Meeting, provided a snapshot of the quantitative and qualitative feedback received as part of phase one in the development of a draft Destination Management Plan. 
Mayor Clare Stewart said the level of interest and quality feedback was encouraging. 
“This is such an important conversation with our community, so it’s pleasing to see the level of interest and the community’s strong directive for transformative change,” she said. 
The consultation identified six key community themes and helped determine the community’s appetite for change in managing tourism in the future. 
“It was quite clear that the community want transformative change and are keen to be part of the process,” the Mayor said. 
The community’s three areas of most importance were managing waste, caring for the environment and implementing better controls around traffic management. 
“Our consultants are still analysing the data to get more information around key themes, but it’s important as a council we take onboard the sentiment from the community, who want a noticeable, positive and lasting alteration to how the shire is managed as a tourist destination,” she said. 
“This clear direction for decisive transformational change provides the basis to develop a good, community-orientated plan early next year,” Cr Stewart said. 
Independent consultant Tourism Colab, who facilitated the community engagement process in liaison with council staff, labelled Noosa’s process amongst the deepest and most wide-reaching the consultancy has ever seen in Australia.  
“This clearly shows we are working towards a good outcome and reiterates the importance of getting the balance right,” Cr Stewart said. 
Strategy and Sustainability Director Kim Rawlings said there were fantastic and innovative ideas shared by the community. 
“We have seen the tourism landscape change significantly since 2019, so developing a draft DMP is certainly timely, relevant and critical to allow us as a community to respond to the opportunities and impacts of tourism and continuing to enhance the liveability across Noosa Shire,” Ms Rawlings said. 
“There is still a lot of work to do so we can come up with a draft document before seeking more community feedback,” she said. 
With the Local Government elections scheduled for March 2024, Council officers will continue to develop a draft Destination Management Plan, with an emphasis on people and place. 
The draft document will be reviewed by the new council with further community engagement scheduled for mid-next year.