DSD speak out on council axing funds
DESTINATION Southern Downs chairwoman Corinne Butler said the DSD board is "extremely disappointed" with the decision by Southern Downs Regional Council to cease funding.
Ms Butler said the action came without consultation and consideration of industry best practice, and that a significant body of work relating to the future of tourism in our region has been compiled over the last four years by industry experts, experienced members of our community and indeed the local tourism industry.
She said tourism was one of the largest economic contributors to the region's economy,
generating $313 million and providing 2400 full-time equivalent jobs, and merging tourism with other portfolios would not afford the recognition it deserved.
Merging tourism with other portfolios does not afford the recognition it deserved explained Ms
"First and foremost, DSD would like to thank those members of our community who have and continue to volunteer their time in the interest of enhancing tourism in our region," Ms Butler said.
"Unfortunately, it appears this valuable industry expertise and community feedback has been ignored.
"To be given just a short window of less than 12-months to implement the tourism strategy that
Council created and endorsed without a satisfactory handover period is deplorable.
"We urge Council to review this decision immediately, with a thorough process and importantly,
an understanding of visitor needs and industry best practice.
"Furthermore, it's a backward step for tourism in the region not to consider visitor needs."
Ms Butler said it was normal protocol for businesses with a significant financial and community stake in an organisation to carry out appropriate and well considered due diligence in consultation with that organisation before making such a significant decision.
She said DSD had urged the Mayor, CEO and individual Councillors to consult with the organisation but this opportunity was not afforded.
"As a Board, we are experienced enough to know that negative rhetoric is in many cases is orchestrated by those who are unaware of the challenges faced," Ms Butler said.
"DSD has implemented all directives by Council, and we are successful working toward implementing our KPIs.
"We have said it before, and we will say it again; to be successful in tourism, we need to focus on the visitor and provide hands-on support to our tourism industry to meet these needs.
"The leading tourism regions of Noosa, Margaret River, and Kangaroo Island work as separate incorporated bodies with a member partnership base, like Destination Southern Downs.
"It is disappointing to consider a model that is not industry best practice."