As the title of the Handbook indicates, it is concerned with regional tourism. But what is regional tourism? The term 'regional' is often used as a synonym for 'rural', and may even imply a degree of peripherality. In the Handbook, it refers to all locations outside the capital city metropolitan areas. Thus, regional tourism incorporates the visitor-oriented activities that are conducted in destinations ranging from the most remote to those bordering the capital cities. It includes non-capital cities, towns, small settlements and isolated sites, and urban fringe, agricultural and wilderness areas. However, the term also reflects the concept of 'region', an entity larger than an individual site. A geographic region is created by identifying a cluster of locations with a common element such as mountainous topography, similar rainfall and temperature regimes, a dominant economic activity or dependence on a central node. Cultural regions are based on elements such as language and religion. Tourism regions are commonly distinguished on the basis of the attractions that they offer to visitors. These may be groupings of topographic features (e.g. the Great Ocean Road), historical sites (the Golden Triangle), entertainment sites (the Gold Coast), wineries (the Barossa) or wilderness settings (Southwest Tasmania). Within such regions, visitation is usually supported by transport networks and accommodation provisions. Although they may be clearly defined on maps, change from one region to another is normally transitional, and boundaries are frequently allocated according to administrative convenience. Throughout Australia, tourism activities in these regions are encouraged and overseen by regional tourism organisations and associations. It is important for those employed in tourism to recognise the regional setting within which they operate. For example, as was clearly demonstrated at the Australian Regional Tourism Convention (2001), consistency with the region's image allows an operator to identify opportunities for collaboration and benefit from centralised marketing.
Kelly, I, Derrett, R, Morrison, K, Kern, C & Waller, I (eds) 2001, Australian regional tourism handbook : industry solutions , CRC for Sustainable Tourism, Gold Coast, Qld.