Leaders counter tourism criticism
KEY tourism identity and former mayor Ron Bellingham has been joined by business leaders to condemn recent "inflammatory and incorrect statements" by Cr Jamie Mackenzie over Warwick Tourism and Events' promotional activities.
Mr Bellingham, who chairs WTE, said that as delegates prepared for the first of their meetings to try and unite tourism management and marketing across the Southern Downs, Cr Mackenzie had injected ill-informed criticism into the debate.
Cr Mackenzie, who is a council observer on the board of WTE, circulated a document to members in which he claimed the organisation had failed to adequately advertise and promote the region.
The document contains questions for a special reference panel set up to examine a potential restructure of the Southern Downs and Granite Belt tourism bodies.
In a question relating to who would run marketing campaigns, he states that the existing scenario is that Granite Belt Wine Tourism promotes "the southern end" of the region "but no one is promoting the northern end".
Cr Mackenzie also claims that WTE has undertaken no online or social media development, despite having an extensive website and a Facebook page with more than 1500 "likes".
Mr Bellingham said the statements were "simply false".
"The organisation has always worked to deliver quality campaigns and strategies, at opportune times, often in partnership with other marketing entities," he said.
"This enables us to maximise the reach of our message and the value of each dollar spent.
"His comments demonstrate a lack of knowledge about the reasons people travel to this region."
His comments were echoed by WTE deputy chair and tourism operator Majella Kahler, who said WTE did "a brilliant job" of advertising the region to the state.
"It's also about the professional running of the Visitor Information Centre - there are people who spend two or three days here as a result of the information they have been given by the volunteers," Mrs Kahler said.
"There and many, many smaller organisations who also benefit from the advice and support Warwick Tourism and Events provide."
Chamber of Commerce president Bruce Partridge said he was puzzled as to why Cr Mackenzie did not appear to know about the "myriad of publications, TV, radio, social media and digital advertising that is promoting this region constantly".
The Savour Guide, 35,000 copies
Embrace magazine, 40,000 copies x4 times a year across regional Qld
Editorial for dozens of newspapers and magazines, radio and TV advertising and interviews across state
WTE Facebook - over 7500 people reached with posts in February.
Jumpers and Jazz Facebook