WHY NAMES CHANGE: Opinion - Peter Wilkins

I have been in the tourism industry for over 35 years and have travelled every highway and visited nearly every town in Australia. Not only have I visited them, I have drawn maps of them, taken photos of their attractions, stayed in local accommodation and written stories about them. i have lived and worked in all states except Western Australia.
I get totally frustrated by newcomers to this industry who arbitrarily decide to change tour area boundaries and names to help them fill their tour area books with advertising.
Two prime examples of this at present are the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and the Limestone Coast in South Australia.
Recently New South Wales and Victoria again changed most of their tour area names and boundaries and both introduced new ones. New South Wales set up 'Heart of Country' covering nearly half the state and Victoria re-introduced the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island, to name only two.
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria is the B100 road which stretches from Torquay in the east to a point about 13km east of Warrnambool. It there joins National Highway 1 which circles the Australian Coast. It is the most important highway in the country and includes all the capitals except Hobart.
Despite this, some advertising person, presumably with the cooperation of the tourism authorities, local tourist organisations and the state motoring association decide to call the major national highway between Warrnambool and the South Australian border the 'Great Ocean Road'. The section of road does not even follow the national highway for the section between Portland and the border, but is an alternative logging route called Alt1. I can accept including Warrnambool and even Port Fairy with the Great Ocean Road. Warrnambool is only 9km west and Port Fairy some 30km., But Portland and Nelson !!!!!
This is a disgraceful downgrading of Highway 1 and is misleading and wrong. It not only insults Highway 1 but also the Great Ocean Road itself.
Why would they do this ?
When a new series of annual area publications is produced it is likely that the revenue to produce a separate book for the south west corner would not make a squillion dollars for those concerned so it is more convenient to just tack it on to the Great Ocean Road.
Not that the Great Ocean Road is only the Great Ocean Road any more. The area now includes Camperdown, Colac, Terang and Winchelsea which are nearly 100km. inland. This was once called Lakes & Craters Country. A great description of the area which is volcanic and has large lakes.
Not enough advertisers there though. Chuck them onto the Great Ocean Road.
In Victoria there was an area called Sunraysia centered around Mildura, The Alpine region has disappeared, the Wimmera was an area through which the Wimmera River flows in Western Victoria. It has now been placed under The Grampians, a national park around 150km away which has nothing to do with it. The Wimmera region contains several sparsely vegetated wilderness parks. The Grampians are displayed with ferny walks, rugged ranges and waterfalls. Victoria's largest lake in the Wimmera has been empty for years. If an overseas visitor picks up a book on the Grampians and arrives in Nhill, 100km away expecting mountains and waterfalls they would be sorely displeased.

Similarly in South Australia we have the Limestone Coast. A beautiful area in the south east of the state with several coastal towns which fit this description. The main city in this area is Mt Gambier, 30km from any coast. Even further inland are Naracoorte and Penola with the adjacent Coonawarra winery district. Naracoorte is over 100km from the coast, a long walk with a surfboard. This is crazy.
Not a lot of advertisers in Naracoorte though, chuck it on to the Limestone Coast.
This is happening all over Australia and each time these advertising agencies or tourism authorities decide to change the names and boundaries every travel website in the world has to do new maps, change their databases, and do other information changes which are time consuming and expensive.
Maybe if these gurus got off their backsides and visited these areas they might come up with a name and a boundary for the region which could last longer than the person responsible for the change in the first place or the duration of the annual publication.
I am currently drawing up a list of tourism areas and boundaries which reflect the real region and which will be used on this site. I am just sick and tired of this industry being controlled by the dollar rather than common sense.
Maybe I can encourage some continuity and common sense into this wonderful industry.

Peter Wilkins. 3/2/13