Councils joining forces to drive local tourism
THE six councils of southwest Queensland have taken on an ambitious project this year, which will see them working together to grow visitor numbers.
As members of the South West Regional Economic Development (SWRED) Association, the Paroo, Murweh, Quilpie, Bulloo, Maranoa and Balonne councils are all on board for this new push to attract tourists.
All the councils will build up their own towns' capacity to support tourism while promoting their neighbours, and will collectively spend around $150,000 on the effort, said Murweh Shire Council Mayor and SWRED chair, Annie Liston.
"We may be having a drought, but we are starting to see a flood of visitors hitting the highways to sample life in the southwest.
"It is vital that our member councils take the lead and grow the self-drive tourism market to benefit all of our communities and businesses,” she said.
"We need to identify any gaps we have in our region's tourism offerings, provide training to those who are the face of our region and map out what infrastructure, products and services will help us grow into the future.
"This project will provide SWRED members with a plan to guide tourist growth in the region for the next five years,” she said.
Digital promotion will provide a cohesive message across the board for this project, said Tourism Committee Chair of SWRED and Deputy Mayor of Balonne Shire Council Fiona Gaske.
"Unity in branding will enable us to draw visitors out through the region and the six councils will work together to cross-promote experiences for those heading this way.
"The ability to book tourism products online is essential, people want access from their phone or the internet.
"It is also important that we have an online presence that effectively promotes our towns,” she said.
At the same time, the State Government is also spruiking outback tourism, specifically train services run by Queensland Rail.
Ministers and the Premier released a joint statement on Monday to advertise deals on fares and said the offer would provide an opportunity to explore the region.
"The iconic Queensland outback is a must see for any traveller, domestic or international, but numbers usually dip in the warmer months,” she said.
"We've declared 2019 The Year of Outback Tourism to support outback communities when they need it most, and Queensland Rail is backing the initiative by helping to get people to the west for less this summer.”