Southern Queensland Country Tourism CEO Mary-Clare Power

March 29, 2017

A record 2.1 million visitors came to Southern Queensland Country over the past 12 months, according to the latest National Visitor Survey Domestic Tourism Snapshot.

Southern Queensland Country Tourism – the regional tourism organisation responsible for the South Burnett, Toowoomba, Darling Downs, Southern Downs, Granite Belt and Western Downs – welcomed the  Snapshot results which were released on Wednesday.

Overnight stays reached 6.4 million nights while expenditure was a record $830.4 million, up 44.6 per cent year-on-year.

SQCT CEO Mary-Clare Power said that while the latest results were good, her main focus was “long-term growth, underpinned by strategic planning”.

“We have had very good results in this quarter, year-on-year but we shouldn’t be fixated on the short-term, because when we focus on data in isolation we get a skewed seasonal picture,” she said.

“We need to look at the long term growth of the region – we saw the uproar that the last set of results caused – my hope is that those detractors consider the bigger picture and now take a more balanced view.”

Ms Power is referring to a proposal to form an independent tourism organisation based in Toowoomba.

The idea was reportedly mooted by Wellcamp Airport developer John Wagner in January. understands that meetings to discuss this possibility have already been held.

“I urge people to look at this in an holistic manner and examine the trends and steady growth over the last few years and how well our whole region is performing alongside other regions,” Mr Power said.

She said this quarter’s positive results were very pleasing and “validated the work the organisation has been doing in partnership with industry over the last three years”.

“Our growth strategy of targeting the short-break market is working – this is where we are seeing results – we are now seeing continued double digit growth in holiday overnight trips by Brisbane people, ”  Ms Power said.

Overnight visitors from Brisbane increased by 18.5 per cent this quarter and 15 per cent  in the previous quarter ending September 2016.

Ms Power said it was encouraging to see growth in business visitor numbers in the December 2016 results.

“It’s wonderful to see some growth come back to the business sector after some disappointing results over the past several quarters, ” she said.

Ms Power said she was happy with the region’s performance but the organisation would keep working hard to attract the short break market whilst developing other opportunities.

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