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Focus group for the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid

The City of Ballarat and the City of Greater Bendigo in Victoria, Australia, as the lead agencies putting together the Central Victorian Goldfields WHS nomination, sought ICTC feedback on the work their consultants prepared on the issue of Sustainable Tourism. An online World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Focus Group with ICTC and the Central Victorian Goldfields WH bid team was held on March 31, 2021.

World Heritage listing of Australia’s Central Victorian Goldfields aims to ‘share the extraordinary story of the Central Victorian Goldfields with people from across the globe and create social, cultural and economic opportunities for every community and person across the region’. This vision for the bid is on the right track to be realised, in large part due to the unprecedented partnership of the region’s thirteen local governments who are leading the bid in conjunction with the region’s Traditional Owners, industry and community stakeholders and several state and federal government departments. 

A unique opportunity is being provided to reframe the region’s visitor economy by embedding sustainable tourism principles, both within and beyond any future World Heritage area, with the aim of raising the socio-economic profile and outlook of the region’s cities, towns and local communities, which, in parts, has some of the highest socially disadvantaged areas in the country and now, as with many other places, has been impacted by COVID-19 and the 2019 bushfire season. 

The objective of the focus group with ICTC members and the bid team was to: (1) test the approach being taken by the bid team in applying a sustainable tourism framework and seek feedback from ICTC members; (2) identify the minimum requirements for World Heritage tourism management and any benefits/drawbacks that moving beyond this may bring; and (3) learn from the experiences of the ICTC and other World Heritage sites that ICTC members are aware of (i.e. case studies), particularly in relation to industrial heritage sites, regional partnerships (i.e. development agencies, NGOs, community), community programs to support sustainable tourism, capacity building partnerships, sustainable tourism practices, financing World Heritage sites and tourism infrastructure, infrastructure planning, design, development, and management, World Heritage site management, and knowledge of other successful multi-site or mining related WH sites.

Website: Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage Bid

“The most extensive, coherent and best-surviving goldrush landscape, anywhere…” – Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for Australia's Central Victorian Goldfields