Cultural and heritage tourism includes all the places and landmarks which authentically associate with the history, artifacts, culture, people and stories from the past. It provides a unique experience to the visitors who can enjoy and learn about the activities related to it (Briassoulis and Van der Straaten, 2013). Cultural tourism can include cities, communities, rural areas, museums, theaters and historical places. Accounting to Global Tour, 37% of the total tourism consists of Cultural and heritage tourism. It has been attracting large number of people from different countries (Du Cros and McKercher, 2014). Furthermore, it supports sustainable growth and causes no harm to the environment.
The main objective of this report is to evaluate the cultural tourism attraction from the perspective of the visitors. To accomplish this, Newcastle Memorial Walk has been included in the study. It is considered as one of the most iconic tourist attraction in Australia. The selected location has been visited multiple times as the entire interpretation of the site has been done by making observations. Apart from this, theoretical and textual material has also been used to better presentation and for understanding the cultural and heritage tourism.
Newcastle Memorial Walk: Description
Newcastle Memorial Walk is located at Memorial Dr, The Hill in New South Wales, Australia. The landmark has been built after years of planning and it was inaugurated on the ANZAC Gallipoli landing. The entire structure is located above 9 meters from the ground level and it provides 360 degree view from the cliff (Aitchison, MacLeod and Shaw, 2014). The cost for building Newcastle Memorial Walk was more than $4.5 million. It has been created by BHP Billiton and Newcastle City council. RPS has been supporting the Newcastle Memorial Walk and they have organized many events to promote the cultural and heritage of the country. It has been built to commemorate the soldiers and people who were involved in World War. The list and names of 3860 locals have been engraved on the steel silhouettes (Figure 2). The locals can be seen touching their relative’s names. Along with this, the walkway on the cliff has many history panels which provide details of different conflicts and places. The walk is equivalent to the bridge climb of Sydney Harbor. Furthermore, the visitors have to pay nothing to visit the tourist attraction. The personal connection of the locals with the Newcastle Memorial Walk has been its key to the success (Newcastle Memorial Walk opened, 2016). Both Memorial walk and drive run parallel to each other. It has resulted in the increase of its popularity and cultural association. The coastlines, beaches, cliff, scenery and views have been additional features which have increased the value of the place. The cliff top has been restricted for the entry of the people because of coastal weather which has eroded in recent few years. But the memorial walk is safe for the public access and it remains open 24*7. The six kilometer walk appears short for the locals but it is appropriate for the locals who have little knowledge about ANZACs. They can read the information and the names on the ANZAC Memorial to understand the heritage and Australian culture. It has been a successful concept which has given the city its newest experience (Newcastle Memorial Walk, 2016). The government has been promoting their new cultural tourist attraction and they have made significant improvements in it. The management has been active and they agave ensured that the visitors have no problems on the site. It has been considered as a memorable site and not a recreational facility. They have made sure that all the users are respected.
- The entire structure has been created from stainless steel.
- It includes 160 m high rocky cliff
- The City Council and the government have been planning to make it the most important World War 1 memorial in Australia.
- Memorial Drive has built to commemorate people who have served the country (Anzac walk officially open, 2016).
- Names of ex-servicemen and women have been engraved.
- Water foundations have increased the beauty and attractive of the place.
- It links coastline to Nobby Beach, Merewether Baths, Newcastle beaches and Bathers way.
- The structure has been built to cater different range of people (Briassoulis and Van der Straaten, 2013). The Council has not allowed any event to take place in the Newcastle Memorial Walk due to limited space and easy accessibility to others.
- There are various sing boards and informative contents to provide details of the activities and Hunter Valley men and women.
Figure 1: Newcastle Memorial Walk: Map
Figure 2: Informative panels
Experience of the visitors
The visitors have been satisfied with their experience at Newcastle Memorial Walk. It is among the most important iconic images present in the city. It is considered as a must see place in Australia which has helped in its popularity. The views are magnificent as it includes beaches, coastlines, sea and scenery (Boniface, 2013). People can watch whales and dolphins which adds more value to the place. The walk takes almost 30 minutes from the beginning till the end but many people have stayed for a long time because they were having good time with their family and friends. The most satisfying moment for the visitors is to see their family names engraved on the wall. They can relive the history and recall the sacrifices made by the soldiers and family members (Aitchison, MacLeod and Shaw, 2014). It helps in creating a personal connection with the place and it gives tribute to the people who have their names on the wall. The management has also ensured that they have provided all the information about the people and past events. They have informative panes and boards which provide detailed description above the cultural association and heritage. They have a list which provides the names of different conflicts and various other aspects (Du Cros and McKercher, 2014). People can be seen looking for the family names and leaving flowers for them as a tribute. Apart from this, the visit to Newcastle Memorial Walk is free of charge and it remains throughout the day. It is open for 7 days a week but may remain close due to extreme weather conditions or safety issues. The multiple visits to the tourist attraction consist of both day and night which has been spectacular. It can provide a refreshing experience to the visitor which is far more than they have anticipated. They can relax themselves and spend some quality time with their family. They can look at the fantastic view of the city, city lights, coastlines and rocky cliffs. Many people visit the place more often to enjoy the winter weather and fresh air (Newcastle Memorial Walk, 2016). It provided one of the best views of the sea which makes it a great walk. The biggest advantage of Newcastle Memorial Walk is that it is suitable for all ages which make it a landmark for all. Furthermore, there are stairs, platforms and areas which are wheel chair accessible. Moreover, the wide space of the walk does not make it look overcrowded even though they are more people in the place. The locals are also friendly and lot of foreigners can be seen on the walk. The coffee shops and restaurants are also nearby which is useful for the visitors and family. Newcastle Memorial Walk encourages the people to visit again and recommend it to others. Furthermore, the Newcastle Council has ensured that they are multiple entrances to the walk. It has been designed keeping in mind the needs and preferences of the visitors (Aitchison, MacLeod and Shaw, 2014). They can enter form the parking, stairs or ramp. It has helped in enhancing the overall experience of the visitors. The popularity of the attraction has been increasing because it provides amazing views, history and unforgettable experience.
Interpretation of culture and heritage
Marketing: The main theme of the Newcastle Memorial Walk is based entirely on the ANZAC and soldiers. The cut outs of soldiers have been created to pay tribute to them. The names of different families have been inscribed on it which allows locals to feel their presence and contribution to the country (Newcastle Memorial Walk opened, 2016). It has attracted many local tourists who feel personally attached to the memorial. Furthermore, foreign tourist can also learn about the Australian history, culture, heritage, World War and ANZACs. The informative history panels have been placed for this purpose. It has been given in the image below which contains the details of the ‘Australian Flying Corps’. This is a great initiative from the management to disseminate the information (Aitchison, MacLeod and Shaw, 2014).
Figure 3: Informative history panels
Management: The management has been active and it can be seen in the designs of the memorial walk. They have excellent job in making sure that they cater to need of all the individuals including foreign visitors. It can be seen from the observation of the site that it is organized in an effective manner. The structure, design, location and views have been complementing each other. It has increased the attraction of the Memorial Walk significantly (Briassoulis and Van der Straaten, 2013). There are also many interpretative materials such as signs and tours. They have been encouraging schools and tour groups to visit the Newcastle Memorial Walk because it will increase their awareness about the culture and heritage in the country. City council has been taking active part in this.
Authenticity: The government and City Council has been involved in the conduction and the designing on the Memorial Walk. They have taken the help of many historians and researchers to find out the names and the conflicts they were involved in it. The list of people on the wall can be found in Hunter Valley and Newcastle (Du Cros and McKercher, 2014). Furthermore, the records of Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Canberra have been searched to gather precise information. It has increased the authenticity of the details and names present on the walls, steel silhouettes and informative history panels.
Controlled or regulated movements: The management has restricted the entry of dogs because it is considered as a Memorial Walk. Furthermore, it is not possible for them to clean the entire pathways on a regular basis. They have also placed safety signage on the site to provide safety and comfort to the people. Similarly, skateboards, bikes and events are also not allowed. Even though the site is open for the whole week including night but it can be closed by the management if the weather is not suitable. There are also signage regarding the direction and pathways at different places on the walk. The main objective of the management is to provide information about the safety measures. But they have not controlled the movement of the visitors. In fact, there are multiple entrances for them which are accessible to all users (Anzac walk officially open, 2016). Apart from this, there are boards containing the history and cultural information related to the memorial.
Evaluation of the success and recommendations
Measures of success of the attraction
Cultural and heritage attraction: The memorial has been built to give tribute to the men and women who have served the country as well as the community (Boniface, 2013). The management has taken the help from the historians who have done extensive research in finding out the names of the people.
Suitable for all ages: The idea of the government and City council was to create a structure which not only provides information about the history but also satisfies all visitors. It has been accomplished with the help of additional features on the site such as beaches, coastlines, sea and scenery.
Planning for the construction: The plans for the designs, construction and accessibility have been excellent by the government. It has been observed that they have taken into account many aspects and things to make sure that it becomes the most important iconic images in the city (Newcastle Memorial Walk opened, 2016). It has been a unique concept which has been successful as it has been attracting large number of tourists which includes bother domestic as well as international.
Central location: Another advantage of the site is that it is close to the city. It has many nearby attractions such as Newcastle museum, Cathedral Church, King Edward park etc. It provides more opportunity to the tourists to visit the place along with other attractions.
Additional features of the attraction: Monumental walk has been supported by the additional features present on the site (Boniface, 2013). It includes rocky cliffs, beaches, coastlines, dolphins, sea etc. It has helped the government to increase the popularity of the place. Many people have visited the attraction multiple times due to this.
It is recommended to the management that they should increase the length of the walk. They can include the Newcastle beach as the starting point which can extend to King Edward Park and Bar beach. It will allow people to reach different place at ease. The main part of the Newcastle Memorial Walk is only limited to the memorial part which has to be extended by the management. Apart from this, they should also take care of the maintenance of the area. Even though they have restricted the entry of dogs but the litter can be seen which has been a major disappointment. The length of the walk has restricted the management because it becomes difficult to clean the entire walk on a daily basis. But it has to be taken into consideration by them because it can affect the experience of the visitors. Furthermore, guided tours have to be introduced for Newcastle Memorial Walk. At present, there are no guided tours which are available. The City Council has been working on it but they have not been able to extend to all the tourists. They are only restricted to schools and very limited tours. This is an area which requires attention from the management because it will help them to attract more foreign tourist. Information panels may not be as attractive as tours guides who can explain them all the details in their own language. Moreover, they can print brochures, display advertisements and guidebooks to communicate about Newcastle Memorial Walk and its attractions.
It can be concluded from the above that Newcastle Memorial Walk is a unique concept which has been created to promote culture and heritage of Australia. It has been attracting large number of people from different countries. It has been built to commemorate the soldiers and people who were involved in World War 1. The names of 3860 locals have been engraved on the steel silhouettes and the information has been displayed through information panels which have been placed at different spots. The management has ensured that Cultural, heritage attraction and authenticity of the walk remains intact. They can use advertisements, brochures, and guidebooks to attract foreign tourists.
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