Or … the speech I never delivered.
So today I was cleaning up my archives and guess what?
On this very day five years ago I wrote a speech. I think it was a great speech. In a way a rant. But it was never delivered.
And it’s a shame because if I had delivered it, things may have turned out better for all of you and regional Australia.
Of course, they may not have as well.
Let me explain …
In October, 2010 the Queensland government held an economic forum on tourism in the state. Of particular interest was discussing “developing Queensland’s rural and regional communities through grey nomad tourism”. Lot’s of relevant parties were there such as associations, tourism representatives and local councils.
So was I. And it was a grand affair with politicians grilling into and drilling down to detail from various participants.
We did have a voice so I am not complaining about missing out. But circumstance meant that the speech that I wrote specifically for the forum was never actually delivered.
I came across that speech today and re-read it and thought: Wow! It’s still relevant today – as it was 5 years ago!
One of the great things about having a blog like this is I can, from time to time, indulge in a good rant.
In my speech (there is a link to it below), I felt that we spoke with some authority. At least on Grey Nomads if not tourism. We had already been at it for over three years by then. So I had a lot of data.
I looked at the reason for the forum as an economic one not a tourism one. After all it was an economic forum!
So when I read: “developing Queensland’s rural and regional communities through grey nomad tourism“, I actually saw “developing Queensland’s rural and regional communities by getting grey nomads to stay around a while“.
How do you get them to stay for a while? Give them a reason.
What’s a good reason? Give them a task, a job or an opportunity.
Let’s face it, not all regional communities have a Kakadu, an Uluru or a Shark Bay down the street.
Tourism is just not going to cut it for many towns. We just slow up for the speed bumps and sail on through.
But create an opportunity for us to live, eat and work with the locals for a week or a month and we’ll be in like Flynn. Why not? It’s all part of the adventure.
I inferred in my speech that most of these towns already had thousands of people driving through or past them everyday. They have skills, experience and enthusiasm to spare. And they are just waiting for you to put up your hand and say: “Over here for a while”.
Anyway, I also said that we had a bold vision to find 200,000 jobs and opportunities for nomads over the next two years. We did find a lot. I don’t know exactly how many but it was nowhere near that.
But I also said to do that we needed to “garner … support from local governments, local chambers and other local employer influencers and cohorts (to) deliver … value to local communities right across .. Australia”.
(BTW, using words like “influencers” and “cohorts” is what my wife calls HLB, meaning High Level Blah, which usually goes down a treat at forums like this.)
Of course, I never delivered the speech. So although we get some opportunities from various local governments, we have never really got the traction that is needed.
I also noted: “In their research on the Grey Nomad Mobile Workforce Project, Tony Charters and Associates noted feedback that included: “further development of the Grey Nomad paid labour market in the region lacks an immediate champion/ organisational driver.”
I still feel that there is no “champion” for the cause other than Grey Nomads Jobs. But I am still here. I’m not giving up yet!
Our “numbers” have grown considerably since this day 5 years ago. Then we were getting 50,000 visitors per year to our website. Today that is much more and some of our Facebook posts achieve that figure in a few days.
So I guess there will always be more of you than there are opportunities.
So as a champion I would still love to pull together the councils, chambers and communities and be the organisational driver.
We’ll get there eventually.
I welcome your comments here or by email with any suggestions or ideas. Here is the actual speech I never delivered.