I opened up The Advertiser yesterday which is the local Adelaide paper.  I was very proud to see that Adelaide has been rated ninth in the world’s top 10 cities by travel bible Lonely Planet.  This is an outstanding achievement and for someone who travels in Australasia regularly, I love Adelaide, choose to live here and build our businesses here and would attest to its ranking.  What is really strange though is how Adelaide residents view their own city.  One of conservatism, lack of innovation and lack of ‘can do’.    It is very true that you do not appreciate your own dwellings until you travelled extensively or have lived somewhere else.

Regardless of where you live, we can all choose our response.  Our response to opportunities, the work we do, the people we associate with, how we focus on opportunities rather than risks or problems and the wonderful places we can visit in our own backyard literally an hour or two from our world class city.

The varying responses to how people view Adelaide is summed up with the negativity written from some people online when it was announced in the article.  You only have to scroll through the comments to back up my statements above.  Even from a good news story, the negativity was alive and well.

The contrast in choosing a response to being placed in the world best cities list in Lonely Planet was sharply brought to my attention given that I was flying to Auckland yesterday who also ranked in the top 10 cities (tenth) in the same list.  Auckland is a wonderful city which I have had the pleasure of travelling to close to 100 times over the last four years for business working with terrific New Zealand clients.  Air New Zealand provided me my complimentary New Zealand Herald in the morning as we flew out which I started to read.  Early in the paper the headline “Auckland hits the Top 10 in world best cities list” was there for all to see.   Their paper is exceptionally proud of its city with many positive stories featuring regularly.  They even had a section accompanying the story from prominent Aucklanders on why they love their city which also had been translated in to youtube videos online.  Just one fantastic idea showing how proud they are of their city!   A sharp contrast to how the article was conveyed in our Advertiser and the subsequent lack of commentary from prominent Adelaideans.

The other disturbing feature of the article was that for each of the top 10 cities, they mentioned how many foreign visitors visit every year.   Cities in the top 10 such as Paris and Shanghai have 8.7 million and 8.2 million visitors respectively.   These enormous numbers are understandable given their size but even small cities like Trinidad in Cuba who has only 75,000 people had 700,000 people visit them or even Zurich in Switzerland who have 394,000 people but have 3.2 million visitors last year.  Auckland who have a similar population to Adelaide (1.4 million people to 1.26 million for Adelaide) had a staggering 1.8 million visitors to Adelaide’s 332,000!  We were by more than half the least amount of visitors out of the Top 10 world’s best cities!

This disproportion of visitors relative to other great cities has got to change for Adelaide to thrive as a city and as a tourist friendly destination.   It got me thinking about what I could do personally to promote Adelaide better given I get the opportunity to travel and meet lots of people who could potentially be tourists to our great city.   I have put down some thoughts below:

  • Write about in our blog and encourage all that read it to send it on to others who could pick one or two ideas out and help promote Adelaide as a great city with their networks and colleagues;
  • Promote our blog through our social media channels so that its reach is far and wide;
  • I will look to host more clients and members of our businesses to come to our great city when we hold our events here in the future rather than undertaking them interstate;
  • Challenge our Tourism Commission, Brand South Australia, Business SA and other relevant organisations to look at how Auckland and other cities  have really instilled pride in their residents for their city.  The why we love this city example above is one example we could look to adopt and learn from;
  • I will look to display more prominently the Brand South Australia logo on our email signatures and within our business collateral. It is something we have not done to date but will look to progress as a matter of priority as it will help to spread where Adelaide is and what we have to offer;
  • When I hear negativity around our city and its problems, I will challenge the individual to think about possible solutions and what they could do to help improve the situation rather than remaining quiet;
  • I will through the mentoring I do of other business owners in the State, encourage them to think globally but act locally.   That is, don’t limit your business thinking to just Adelaide – play and compete on a world stage which will help us to bring more economic benefits, customers and jobs to our city;
  • The next time a client asks me why I choose to live in Adelaide rather than Sydney or Melbourne, I will tell them because we have a great city to live in which has been backed up through reports like this; and
  • I will look to explore my own city more with my family.  I need to explore more of our great city which I will challenge myself to do more of over the coming months and years.

For Adelaideans, what will you do to encourage promotion of our world class city? I would  welcome any other thoughts and suggestions you may have in addition to the list above.

For readers who are not from Adelaide, thank you for taking the time to read this.  If you are thinking about a holiday to Australia in the near future, we would love to host you in our great city!

Lets choose our response, let’s be proud of where we live and lets be part of the solutions to continue to make this city great and one we are all proud of.