News

Tourism merger could see a lift

Another beautiful winter's day on the Granite Belt, what could be better?
Another beautiful winter's day on the Granite Belt, what could be better? Shannon Newley

A NEW tourism supergroup could be on the cards, with the aim of seeing more visitors flock to the Southern Downs to spend their tourist dollars.

A report was released yesterday for tourism operators across the region, which recommended the Warwick Tourism and Events and Granite Belt Wine and Tourism bodies merge under one "umbrella".

It was pitched that the two entities would combine their talents in the realms of strategies and promotion, to lure visitors and build what could be one of the most successful inland tourism regions in Australia.

Through research, investigations and consultation with various stakeholders, Team Tourism Consulting, contracted by the Southern Downs Regional Council, came up with a strategy to merge the two groups.

"Two local tourism organisations (LTOs) are not currently maximising opportunities for growth because there is no single point of contact," consultant Jennifer Houiellebecq said.

She said having two bodies meant there were gaps in services where they were not working together.

"It's about working together to improve first impressions and effectively attract investment to the region," Ms Houiellebecq said.

She said the four pillars the Southern Downs' proposed strategy aimed to base itself on were festivals and events, culture and heritage, wine and local flavours and ecotourism.

She added by combining both tourism bodies, each region could benefit from what the other had to offer.

Southern Downs Mayor Peter Blundell said he was pleased with the strategy put forward by the consultants yesterday and felt creating a consolidated LTO was the best for the region.

"I hate the term amalgamation because it puts a bad context in people's minds, but this definitely has a lot of benefits," Cr Blundell said.

"It is a good idea and I have agonised over it too, but what we should all do is step back from our personal positions and look at what's best for the region."

Cr Blundell said the council would not be up for putting any more money into tourism than had already been allocated in the 2012-13 budget, but was keen to implement a structure that could "serve our tourism industry well into the future".

"I think the question is, can we afford not to do it?" Cr Blundell said.

Spring Creek Mountain Cafe and Cottages owner Bev Ruskey said she too was all for the idea.

"Warwick's always recognised for its events and they're run really well and I certainly don't want to see any of that being affected, but it's a good idea and we've got to accept this is going to happen and has got to happen," Mrs Ruskey said.

"I'm hopeful that what has been started here in Warwick will stay and events will keep growing."

The strategy is yet to go through the Southern Downs Regional Council, and will be brought up at a meeting over the next couple of months.

Topics:  merger, tourism




Steam locomotive back on the rails

STEAM POWER: A Queensland Rail steam locomotive is set to arrive in Warwick tomorrow to replace the Southern Downs Steam Railway engine that is currently being repaired.

Qld Rail loco due in Warwick tomorrow

Stroll, swing and Sourced markets: Don't miss it

SOURCED FRESH: Mayor Tracy Dobie and Sourced spokeswoman Amy Walker get kitted up for the Stroll 'n' Swing markets today.

Don't miss tomorrow's Stroll n Swing in Palmerin St

Girl decapitated in crash - three times

LEARNER DRIVERS: Lily Maw, Alice (the dummy)and James King learnt the dangers of being distracted while driving.

Students learn lesson in road safety.

Latest deals and offers

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles