Paul Antonio
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio

January 31, 2017

A public squabble over tourism promotion which erupted earlier this week between Wellcamp Airport developer John Wagner and Southern Queensland Country Tourism has drawn the attention of Toowoomba Regional Council.

Earlier this week, Mr Wagner slammed SQCT – the Regional Tourism Organisation also charged with promoting the South Burnett – in the media as an “absolute joke” and a “disgrace”.

He suggested taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ dollars were not being spent wisely in the region.

He said the TRC should “do something serious” about tourism this year.

In response, SQCT CEO Mary-Clare Power she said the region was doing “reasonably well” in leisure tourism, the sector which the SQCT promotes.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio welcomed the discussion about tourism growth and said the timing was right.

“This is an exciting time for our region. We are seeing and experiencing unprecedented change,” Mayor Antonio said.

“The time is right to talk about how we best market our unique tourism offering locally and internationally.

“Tourism has been a somewhat fragmented industry with confusion about what level of government does what for local operators.

“What’s becoming clearer to Council is that we all need to get together and discuss this important issue at a time when our region is ready to explore tourism in a more collaborative way than ever before.”

Mayor Antonio said the Wellcamp Airport had been at the forefront of opening tourism opportunities for the region.

“I’m excited that the airlines using the airport are passionate about growing tourism in our community,” he  said.

“Council is committed to getting the best value for our investment in promoting our unique region and we believe that taking a partnership approach will see the best outcomes.”

Tourism and Events portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald said Council was looking at a number of models in support of the tourism sector and these would be considered ahead of Budget deliberations for the 2017-18 financial year.

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