Huon Valley News

Storytime in the Huon Valley

Visitors to the Huon Valley will soon be able to go on a journey and discover hidden gems, untold stories, and local characters via an interactive geo-located podcast tour.

The Huon Valley Council was successful in attaining a grant through the Regional Arts Fund for a project called Storytime – Local Stories from Local People.

The grant allows Council to partner with Storytowns – a start-up company that produces podcasts – to create an immersive cultural experience using good old-fashioned storytelling techniques.

Acting Mayor Sally Doyle said the project will enhance the visitor experience in the Huon Valley.

“It will do this by providing visitors with unique insights into local arts and culture in the form of stories told by local people. Visitors can experience these stories in real time while travelling.”

The funding allows for the production of four podcasts to support the arts and culture of the villages of Dover, Geeveston, Cygnet and Huonville.

“Using geo-located technology, the podcasts will include interviews with a diverse range of locals and allow listeners to go on a journey and discover what the towns have to offer,” Acting Mayor Doyle said.

“The project is designed to encourage more rural and regional tourism, promote local businesses, and help boost the local economy.

“How the podcasts work is the geo-locator feature automatically plays before visitors drive near a featured town, ensuring the visitor is primed and more likely to stop, explore, stay, and spend in the town.

“Other features allow visitors to select and listen or scan a QR code on location. Users can also listen while at home which can prompt interest in the area and entice them to actively consider visiting the location.”

Acting Mayor Doyle said the initiative taps into the high number of visitors who come to Tasmania as independent self-driving travellers.

“Results of the Tasmanian Visitor Survey for the period 2015-2017 show that 80 per cent of the visitors to the Huon Valley region are engaged in self-drive holidays. This is expected to be an ongoing trend. The podcast tour is ideal for this kind of traveller.”

Acting Mayor Doyle said Storytowns is currently in the planning and research stage of the project and is looking for people to share local knowledge and stories.

“If you have an interesting story to tell or know of someone who does, please get in touch with Martin Conlan from our Economic Development team – They’d love to hear from you.”

Alternatively, Storytowns has created a survey to help people start to share the local stories and people, before a journalist will come out on site to conduct interviews. They would love your help in identifying strong stories and places for travellers to visit. The survey can be found here.

Once the project is complete, the podcasts can be heard on the free geo-located Storytowns Touring App.

Image: Andrew Wilson