Forum to be held for tourism plan

UNDER a proposed restructure of tourism on the Southern Downs, Warwick Tourism & Events would be dissolved and a new Local Tourism Organisation (LTO) would take its place.

This new LTO would run the Warwick Visitor Information Centre and a new key performance indicator would be introduced to ensure “regional cooperation”.

This plan, which was part of a confidential report to the Southern Downs Regional Council earlier this week, has been given in-principle support by councillors.

Even though this decision was initially made last week, and ratified at the general meeting on Tuesday, the details of the report and decision were only released yesterday.

Before council formally adopts any new tourism structure on the Southern Downs, it will consult with community and key stakeholders.

The report was delivered to existing recognised tourism bodies on Wednesday afternoon.

Currently the Southern Downs has three major tourism bodies – an LTO in Stanthorpe, Granite Belt Wine Tourism; a Regional Tourism Organisation, Southern Downs and Granite Belt Regional Tourism; and a council-owned organisation, Warwick Tourism & Events.

Under the proposed plan, if Warwick Tourism & Events was dissolved and a new Warwick LTO formed, council would take on the events management role.

Mayor Ron Bellingham said it was important to note that council had not adopted the proposed structure.

“The intention is to give key stakeholders and the community an opportunity to provide input into the final structure,” he said.

“It is intended to undertake workshops and other methods of consultation to ensure stakeholders and community views are considered by council before a final model is adopted.”

Cr Bellingham indicated that the report focused on the strategic structural challenges facing tourism and tourism bodies and the way council supported them.

During the next few weeks a number of consultations will be held across the region to discuss the proposal and address concerns with the aim of finding a workable solution.

Existing tourism bodies will form a large part of this consultation, as well as public meetings for the community. Dates, times and locations will be released shortly.

If you cannot attend, you are encouraged to complete an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/tourismstructure



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