Background Image for How can data help our tourist towns recover?


How can data help our tourist towns recover?

We’ve been pondering this question at Geolytix. Here in our local state of Victoria, Australia, our tourist towns have been hit by the double whammy of horrific bushfires followed by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

10th August 2020

The catch cry of the moment is “We’re all in this together”.  So here’s an idea for helping tourist towns to learn more about themselves and support each other.

Something we do a lot in our work is to find similar locations and situations so retailers and communities can benchmark themselves.  This might be used to understand the potential value of investing in a new location, or to work out what the most successful format is to open.  But some work we’ve done on Community Wellbeing for the Co-operative Group in the UK (where we indexed areas against a set of 9 common criteria) made us think how tourist towns might benefit from a similar understanding of which other towns are ‘like them’. Here’s the link to the Community Wellbeing Index if you want to take a look…

Paring ‘sister’ towns with similar profiles allows towns to connect with each other and share knowledge.  The town profiles might be built from any number of variables, including the number of tourists visiting, split between domestic and international tourists, demographic profile of tourists, how far they travel, how long they stay, demographic profile of local residents, local employment profile, core tourist activities, accommodation types, number of cafes & restaurants, local attractions etc.  

Knowing which towns are ‘like yours’ can also facilitate learnings between local councils. Specifically, what initiatives other councils in similar towns are taking to support local businesses and encourage tourists to return.   And, of course, how effective these interventions are. At State Government level this data allows quantification of the impact on towns from the bush fires and pandemic, and helps guide the type and scale of investment needed to head towards recovery.

There’s a wealth of data we can use to understand towns pre-Covid, during lockdown and post lockdown to make informed decisions.  But, it’s just as important to simply know there’s another town out there like yours, to be able to reach out and support each other through these difficult times.

If you’d like to discuss the idea of a Tourist Towns Sisterhood Index in more detail please contact Samantha Colebatch at

Title Image: Geolytix enjoying the touristy delights of the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia (pre Covid)

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