Warwick Visitor Information Centre volunteer Fran Hockings (centre) with the new visitor guide launched by Destination Southern Downs general manager Marion Carrick and marketing manager Anissa Williams. Photo Sophie Lester / Warwick Daily News
Warwick Visitor Information Centre volunteer Fran Hockings (centre) with the new visitor guide launched by Destination Southern Downs general manager Marion Carrick and marketing manager Anissa Williams. Photo Sophie Lester / Warwick Daily News Sophie Lester

Tourism essential for Southern Downs

STRONG tourism means a strong region, and Destination Southern Downs is ensuring just that.

General manager Marion Carrick said tourism brought about $313million each yeah and 2400 full-time equivalent jobs to the region.

Following council directive to implement recommendations from the Team Tourism report issued in 2012, the tourism body has worked to bolster tourism opportunities for the region.

Unlike Warwick Tourism and Events and Granite Belt Wine and Tourism, Ms Carrick said as a unified body DSD took a “big picture approach” and capitalised on visitor demands.

“It was important to identify the strengths of each region and pull them together going forward,” she said.

“Both of those groups had different operating requirements and it’s important to have consistency and focus on what’s best for visitors.

“Towns in the region have different strengths to attract visitors and it’s key we tap into that, for example Allora sunflowers which are trending on social media.

“We work behind the scenes on a lot of things, for example, we work to support tourism operators and accommodation providers through training them in social media.”

Ms Carrick said the focus for DSD had moved from events management to a holistic strategic marketing approach.

“Events and festivals continue to be important for increasing visitor numbers but community involvement in events will be a major driver for those events,” she said.

“Without the government funding there once was, for these events to be successful long-term there needs to be community ownership, like with Apple and Grape, which is organised by residents and draws 70,000 people.

“There are a significant number of events that all deserve support, so we can’t focus on just a few – that would mean only having visitors for a few weeks a year, when operators need visitation spread across the region and the year.”

DSD has also launched the inaugural Visitor Guide for the Southern Downs and Granite Belt.

Ms Carrick said the publication would tease visitors with the diversity of product, encouraging them to get up the mountain and discover Queensland’s High Country, including the aptly named ‘Seven Natural Wonders’.

She said, after four years in the making, it was great to have a comprehensive guide of the entire region created with the support of members and advertisers.

“We would also like to thank the exceptional photographers and Instagrammers that have supplied us with stunning images for minimal or no cost,” she said.

“This is the first in many core marketing initiatives Destination Southern Downs will be unveiling over the next few months.”

ARM has printed 3,0000 copies of the 70-page, A4 glossy publication, with distribution commenced to accredited Visitor Information Centres and RACQ offices throughout Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

Throughout the year, the Visitor Guide will also be disseminated at consumer and trade shows, both interstate and intrastate, and in response to consumer inquiries generated through our marketing campaigns.

Next off the rank is a leading tourism website by web designers and photographers, Cory and Renee Rossiter, to entice visitors to the region and boost immediate bookings for our members.

Ms Carrick said it was important for residents to have a copy of the guide to show their friends and family as they are the best ambassadors for the Southern Downs and Granite Belt region.

“The guide provides a taste of what is on offer in our region, encouraging them to visit our website for further information and ultimately book their holiday or weekend away,” she said.

“The simplicity of the guide also allows visitors to be able to access the highlights of region quickly.”

Pick up copies from member businesses, satellite information kiosks and precincts, or view it online at southerndownsandgranitebelt.com.au



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