GOING STRONG: Southern Downs Steam Railway secretary Bob Amos and President Peter Gregory next to the treasured piece of history.
GOING STRONG: Southern Downs Steam Railway secretary Bob Amos and President Peter Gregory next to the treasured piece of history. Kirstin Payne

Visitor numbers in Warwick up every season this year

TOURISM is showing no sign of dwindling on the Southern Downs, with most local operators noticing a steady increase in visitors.

The Southern Downs Regional Council recorded an 8percent increase in visitor numbers to the Warwick Visitor Information Centre in every season this year.

Councillor Rod Kelly said the Southern Downs drew many people from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

"Those numbers on a three-year trend are up and I keep saying to people, tourism is everybody's business," he said.

"Many businesses will benefit out of that."

Cr Kelly said the spring marketing campaign exceeded its objectives, with the Southern Downs and Granite Belt website experiencing particular growth with about 3500 visitors over the period.

Southern Downs Steam Railway secretary Bob Amos said the team was flat out and never had to cancel a trip due to lack of interest.

"We're not seeing a dramatic increase, we're seeing a steady increase," he said.

"Over the last two years it's been picking up steadily."

Mr Amos said the railway could host more train trips, but the only thing holding them back was a limited number of volunteers.

Valerie Prentice of the Criterion Hotel said she had also seen a slight increase in visitors.

"I think people are a lot more buoyant and optimistic in town, people are talking about the future more in a positive light," she said.

Glengallan Homestead board chairwoman Donna Fraser said their experience had been different, as figures for November were noticeably down due to a reduction in bus groups.

"Had we not had scheduled marketst we'd be in trouble leading up to Christmas," she said.

"If this trend continues, we will need to bump up our marketing into other sectors."

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said the goals for the spring marketing campaign were modest and would be built on in future.

"It's not about just one campaign, it's continually layering what you're doing and changing views," she said.



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