Warwick Visitor Information Centre
Warwick Visitor Information Centre Sophie Lester

Warwick Tourism has a new home

TOURISM is set for a big move in the coming weeks.

Southern Downs Regional Council has been hugely supportive of the tourism sector and volunteers as a vital component in the region's economy.

The council is working very hard on a new Tourism Marketing Strategy, which will bring more visitors to the Region.

Following a review of operations and expenditure in the tourism sector, the council will make some minor changes to the way the Visitor Information Centres are run and the way that the tourism sector in the region is supported by Council.

Mayor Tracy Dobie said the Visitor Information Centre in Warwick will be moving to the Town Hall in Palmerin St and undergoing some exciting new changes.

"This is an excellent outcome for so many reasons," Cr Dobie said.

The Warwick Visitor Information Centre will soon move to the Town Hall, pictured during the iconic Jumpers and Jazz Festival.
The Warwick Visitor Information Centre will soon move to the Town Hall, pictured during the iconic Jumpers and Jazz Festival. Leanne Ryan

"It will get more visitors into the middle of town. Many visitors want to see the Town Hall and having the VIC there will add to the experience.

"The move to Town Hall will also improve the access and visibility of the centre, which should see move visitors finding out more about our fantastic and diverse region.

"It will also provide more space for the Art Gallery to expand; a huge plus for our vibrant arts and cultural sector.

Regional Promotion, Tourism and The Arts Portfolio Councillor, Rod Kelly said Council will continue to support the wonderful volunteers.

"We will provide training, uniforms and make sure that the centre and the building is operational at all opening times,” Cr Kelly said.

"We will also streamline many of the activities undertaken by volunteers to ensure that they have a great time being ambassadors for the Southern Downs region.”

The new Marketing Officer for the Council has just commenced work with the Economic Development and Tourism Unit.

Top priorities for the new role are to review the tourism and economic development websites, and produce a new regional touring guide and industry newsletters.

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

The decision comes six months on from the disbanding of Destination Southern Downs.

The tourism body was formed following recommendations from a tourism report commissioned by the council, but was scrapped after just 12 months with SDRC opting to have in-house control of tourism and marketing for the region.

Tourism is an important sector in the Southern Downs, and the Council has plans in place to keep it strong.

Former tourism leaders have recognised the role volunteers have to play in the region's tourism.

Majella Kahler, owner of of Kahler's Oasis Caravan Park and former chair of Warwick Tourism and Events, said while volunteers were an inexpendable resource, appropriate leadership was still required.

She said having the Visitor Information Centre run solely by volunteers would present challenges.

"While our volunteers do a fantastic job, I think it's unfair to expect them to be the managers of it, particularly on weekends,” Mrs Kahler said last month.

"There is also the risk the VICs opening hours would be reduced without enough volunteers.”



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