Interpretive planning lies at the heart of nature tourism product delivery. It invites travellers to appreciate and value the natural and cultural heritage of the place they are visiting.
Infrastructure delivers the experience. Interpretive planning helps people attribute lasting values and meanings to this experience.
These associations reach beyond any one sign or other similar message encounter. Interpretive considerations are not the topping to be applied to the product when all the other planning is complete. Rather they stand as the foundation upon which the experience itself must rest.
Interpretive planning embraces a multi-skilled approach that gives as much focus and credence to landscape design, visitor orientation and flow patterns, user safety, ongoing management commitments and digital product support as it does to the research, graphic and structural design of the headline elements that eventually engage with the visitor.
In defining its relevance for a post 2020 operating environment, interpretive planning has to adapt and align its operations closely with the demands and expectations of a mobile-optimised world.
Visitors are no longer likely to be engaged as passive consumers of pre packaged product prepared on their behalf by the relevant local knowledge holders. Rather they expect to be able to interact with the message delivery matrix so as to follow their own interests and needs.
Neither at an institutional level it is any longer acceptable to ignore the needs of non English speaking visitors or people with disabilities unable to easily connect with traditional communication media like signage. To this extent, publishing content in both printed, PDF and HTML formats is now recognised as standard best practice for all core agency communications.
Responding to these new operational realities presents not just challenges, but also real opportunities in reimagining the way in which interpretation positions its product for a post 2020 operating environment.
Exploring these new areas of opportunity while at the same time drawing upon a core body of three decades of interpretive product delivery experience, is central to Nature Tourism Service's planning operations.
1. Whole of region planning and product development to access new tourism markets and experiences:
THE GREATER BLUE MOUNTAINS
2. Sharing innovative ways to help Aboriginal communities communicate culturally sensitive information on Country in a way that responds to their desire to ensure their children grow up strong in their Culture:
EAST BALLINA ABORIGINAL PLACE
3. Interpretation as a contract the onsite communication ensemble enters into with the visitor.
The interpretive media present heritage information in an appealing and easily comprehended manner.
The visitor provides the emotional content and meanings that they may attach to this information.
4. Helping Aboriginal people care for their Country by assisting them to share culturally sensitive material in a manner they feel is appropriate and over which they have complete control:
MUNGO MEETING PLACE
5. Defining the different zones of engagement for visitor orientation versus interpretive content:
ACT PARKS AND CONSERVATION ORIENTATION SIGNAGE STRATEGY AND STYLE GUIDE