Killarney main street.
Killarney main street. Contributed - Lana Swan

Support for tourism operators

QUEENSLAND Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey is urging Australians to support flood‐hit businesses and holiday in the state this year but according to Warwick Tourism & Events CEO Tracy Vellacott, it is not just about helping the bigger coastal tourism regions.

"The value of tourism to the Southern Downs economy is significant and it's important that both visitors and locals support our operators as well, particularly those in hard‐hit outlying areas," Mrs Vellacott said.

"For operators like Spring Creek Mountain Café and Cottages and Queen Mary Falls Kiosk and Caravan Park, it is a case of de‐ja‐vu with the closure of the Head Road from the Scenic Rim.

"While the road, which brings in a large number of visitors from Brisbane and the Gold Coast to the Killarney area, is now closed for major reconstruction due to landslides, we want to send a clear message that Killarney is open for business and that the roads from Warwick, or through Yangan are open and safe."

In the northern part of the region, Goomburra operators were also hard‐hit, with several noting that the 2013 flood event was worse than two years ago.

"At Goomburra Valley Campground, the creek came up higher leaving a huge mess with big timber washed down and stuck in the creek and damage was sustained to the bunkhouse and their workshop," Mrs Vellacott said.

"The pressing issue for Deb and Andy is to clean up and restore the camping ground so that they can at least carry on in a limited capacity," she said.

Over at Bestbrook Mountain Resort it was a similar scenario.

"For Bestbrook, the race is on to complete the massive amount of clean‐up work so they

can meet their major school bookings and commitments in early February."

Mrs Vellacott said that while this natural disaster has thrown up a number of economic challenges for tourism operators, the offshoot is that the area is looking incredible and is definitely worthy of a visit.

Operators have put alternate routes on their websites and Facebook.

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