The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce (FCC) and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee (hereafter the “Tourism Committee”) are committed to maintaining the commercial and social fabric of Fremantle, and the strategic development of the Fremantle tourism industry, in a fashion that revitalises the facilitation of the growth of Fremantle’s tourism operations.
In support of this, we are continuing to look ahead to find creative solutions on how a renewed model of the City of Fremantle Visitor’s Centre (hereafter the “Visitor’s Centre”) could better welcome visitors to the City and provide a unique Fremantle experience, that Fremantle is so famous in offering.
The FCC and Tourism Committee fully support the creative and commercial solution initially offered by Sirona Capital and are aligned in an inexpensive visual cue in the shape of a shipping container that reflects the values of Fremantle in Pioneer Park (The FCC’s and Tourism Committee’s preferred location site).
We have also noted in our feedback that went to Council last year, a strong desire for improved services such as luggage storage, a lounge, toilets, prayer rooms and parent facilities etc.
We still believe the triangle of information at:
- the Passenger Terminal,
- immediately outside the train station (especially if the Indian Pacific makes its new home in Fremantle),
- in Pioneer Park and,
- the FOMO proposal,
with appropriate way-finding in between, will make for a visitor experience like no other.
We are pleased that Sirona Capital also took on board our collective Chamber feedback around:
- Inclusion of local businesses in the “product offering” and consideration of potential threats,
- A program to protect and enhance the ambassador and volunteer guides and,
- Some consideration of traffic flows around William St where the waiting tour spot is touted.
Context and Work Done to Date:
On May 8, 2019 the City of Fremantle’s Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee requested a report into the long-term location and future operational model of the Visitor’s Centre and for it to be brought to Council.
Following that, the Tourism Committee compiled a review submission into the proposed redevelopment of the Visitor’s Centre.
The City of Fremantle’s Jay Ellis- Manager of Customer Service and Visitor Information also presented to the Tourism Committee and confirmed the City’s willingness to consider the opportunity for a long-term plan, staff famils and collateral (Product displays or exhibitions).
As mentioned above, one such creative and commercial solution was offered by Sirona Capital, in alignment with the Tourism’s Committee’s vision in lobbying for an impactful visual cue in the form of a shipping container, reflecting the values of Fremantle in Pioneer Park.
The Tourism Committee is an industry collective body that represents the interests of the FCC tourism sector membership base. Leaders of the following businesses are represented on the committee: The Esplanade Hotel by Rydges, Fremantle City Tours, WA Maritime Museum, The Left Bank, Fremantle Markets, Fremantle Prison, Quality Suites, Rottnest Express, WA Maritime Museum, Kailis and Rottnest Island Authority.
Since 2019, there have been obvious implications to tourism with COVID-19, however as state borders have now mostly opened up, there is an increased interest to keep the momentum going on both improving the visitor centre and agreeing on a long-term location and operational model.
The desired objective of the Tourism Committee is for the Visitor’s Centre to be a stand-alone outlet with a focus on delivering comprehensive information that covers all aspects of Fremantle’s tourism operations including hospitality, attractions, retail and other associated tourism activities.
The following elements are also considered essential to the ongoing commercial success of the Fremantle Visitor’s Centre:
- Location: Must be located in a high-foot traffic area (Ideally Pioneer Park, Market Street) to benefit from spontaneous visitation. The location could also offer the unique opportunity to uncover underground heritage via a glass feature floor.
- Supporting Infrastructure: Consideration into expanding tourism infrastructure both within the Visitor’s Centre and across the City, such as public toilets, prayer rooms and parenting facilities is needed.
- Collateral: Easily accessible collateral, including curated maps and a wide variety of information available to people across different mediums (posters, brochures, displays and both paid/bookable product information). Information should be focused on day-trip attractions, annual events, retail experiences and festival information. There should also be branding synergies with Fremantle Destination.
- Bookings: The centre should include the facility for booking and payment, even if just through an online web portal.
- In-Store Retail: In-store retail that promotes local Fremantle stores and artisans and could be accommodated through rented shelf space, concessional’s or in-store pop-ups.
- Expansive and Permeating Signage: This is crucial and should be augmented with satellite information outlets and way-finding.
- Capacity for Engaging with Cruise Ship Passengers: This to include transit and turn-around guests and improve visitor experience.
We are, as both the FCC and the Tourism Committee, are eagerly awaiting the outcomes of Council’s decision on the Visitor Centre’s renewal, and the commercial terms of the Sirona Capital Agreement.
We are keen to see through such a strong opportunity to create this centre, particularly with COVID-19 considerations around state borders now being opened and the big opportunity in being prepared for future international borders re-opening.