Tourist signs – facts (and fiction)

Make sure you understand what tourism signs are meant to do for tourism businesses, and what they are not.

Signs are directional (not promotional)

Tourist signs are primarily about visitor navigation. They form the basis for efficient traffic management and road safety. They are not a substitute for effective marketing and they are not for promotional purposes. They assist the visitor, who should already be aware of and motivated to visit your business, through marketing efforts such as brochures and advertising.

They are the final link in a communication process established between the tourism operator and the consumer to reinforce precise locations and to facilitate safe, efficient and orderly travel.

It is important to remember that your application for signing will be considered by the road authorities on the basis of assisting efficient traffic management and road safety, not the advertising or promotion of your business.

Road signing should not be expected to compensate for a poorly located business. Choosing a suitable location that will achieve visibility and capture trade for a tourism business should be a primary consideration at the time of initial business planning.

As a general principle, owners or operators of tourist attractions and services applying for tourist signs are expected to advertise their establishments, opening times, the location, accessibility by road and, where appropriate, public transport, through the tourism industry. This might include the distribution of brochures and other literature that ideally will include clear travel directions and a simple map through accredited Visitor Information Centres.

Signs are a privilege (not a right)

As there are thousands of businesses across the country, road authorities have to restrict signing to certain types of businesses.

Tourism attractions and services, by their very nature, are eligible for signing primarily to help visitors unfamiliar with the road network to find facilities easily and safely.

Authorities want to make our roads safe (they don’t limit signs to hurt tourism businesses)

Signing officers take into consideration the needs of tourism businesses while upholding the basic principles of traffic management and road safety, as well as protecting the visual amenity of our roads.

Make the most of your application for signing – discuss your proposal with the road authority signing officer before submitting your application.

Not everyone gets a sign (criteria must be met and applications approved)

To be eligible for tourist and services signing, your business must meet a set of criteria. Each signing application is carefully judged on its merits. The visual impact, road safety and traffic management needs are considered, taking into account specific local conditions and, wherever possible, the needs of the tourism industry.

Effective signs – say less and don’t have to compete

Too many signs, particularly at intersections, create visual pollution and can be confusing and a safety hazard for motorists. They are ineffective because motorists can absorb limited amount when travelling at high speed.