When you have a tourist region which is geared up for visitors who tour in their own cars, or who drive themselves in rented vehicles, one of the best ways to make their visit more pleasurable is to provide them with clear instructions which point the way to the region`s attractions.
The Barossa is one of Australia`s best known and most highly regarded wine regions, and it is arguably the region which initiated Australia` wine industry, thanks to German immigrants who first grew wine grapes for their own use. Through their efforts in the 18th century, the discovered that the combination of good soils and great climate produced very good wines. So much so, that these humble farm folk became excellent wine makers whose reputation spread, allowing many of the families to create great labels and enjoy abundant sales.
As well as wine, the Barossa has a reputation for producing great food. That makes sense, as the two go hand in hand. It also means that the Barossa Valley attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year who follow the Food and Wine Trail.
Because most of the Valley is rural, in order to visit wineries and food producers and providores visitors need to drive along small country roads away from the main highway. This is where local councils or tourist organisations fall dawn because, quite frankly, local signage is nothing short of pathetic.
It seems that local authorities seem to want to promote the area whilst, simultaneously, keeping the whole place secret. There are no adequate signs to give you fair warning of attractions you are approaching, nor of signs which tell you precisely where you are.
For instance, there are a number of tourist drives which are supposed to take yo to the various towns and attractions on any particular area. When yo start out on one of these drives you can easily get lost because there are no signs on the route which actually show you where to go. Some of the roads end at T-junctions, and even though you are supposed to be following a specific route, there is no road sign at the T-junction to tell you which way to turn.
Similarly, you may be on a road on which there are many wineries, but it has no signs to advise you which wineries are on the particular road, and no advance warning when you actually reach your intended winery, meaning that you can simply drive past because there is nothing to make you aware that you are bout to reach your destination.
I found it very frustrating not to be made aware of local attractions as you drive around the Valley.
It is sad that the local councils and tourist organisations haven`t had a concentrated effort to install tourist-friendly signage as the Barossa Valley is a great destination, and many of the wineries and local providores and producers deserve to be visited and their wares purchased.
Tourism should be a major industry in the Barossa, but unless local authorities make it easier for visitors to find their way around, the local businesses that they are supposed to represent will suffer due to the sheer incompetence of those decision makers who are responsible for promoting tourism in the Barossa Valley.
Signs may cost money to erect, but the lack of signs will see money that visitors would like to send, stay in their pockets through lack of information, or spent elsewhere in regions that are more tourist friendly.