August 10, 2017
The embattled Southern Queensland Country Tourism – which has faced criticism from both South Burnett and Darling Downs tourism operators in recent months – has unveiled a new three-year business plan.
The SQCT Board approved the business plan on Thursday.
SQCT Chair Dr Jane Summers said the region had bucked the trend in terms of short breaks over the past three years, but it was vital to continue to drive growth as domestic and international competition increased.
“Over the past three years SQC total visitors have increased by 3 per cent per annum compared to Brisbane (down 0.5 per cent), the Gold (down 0.1 per cent) and Sunshine (down 0.1 per cent) coasts, which both lost market share in a tough economy,” Dr Summers said.
“Across the next three years we need to continue building awareness in the core short break market while also increasing the SQC product that is ‘international-ready and commissionable’.
“We will also need to retain our share of the long-haul drive market in partnership with other inland destinations.”
The SQCT Board includes representatives from each of the region’s six Councils: Toowoomba (Cr Geoff McDonald); Southern Downs (Cr Rod Kelly); South Burnett (Cr Danita Potter); Balonne (Cr Robyn Fuhrmeister); Goondiwindi (Mayor Graeme Scheu); and Western Downs (Cr Donna Ashurst).
Dr Summers said it was important partner Councils had their say in the planning of the region’s tourism focus to 2021.
“We need to ensure the available budget is spent in pursuit of activities that will provide the best return on investment for the entire region, while ensuring we highlight the wonderful attractions and operators in each Council area,” she said.
“I’d like to thank our Council representatives on the Board who have robustly championed their individual areas, while acting within the best interests of the SQC region as a whole.”
She said the key planks of the three-year plan to boost regional tourism includes:
Product and Industry Development will also be an area of major focus over the next three years including:
Dr Summers said prior to Thursday’s meeting, the Board and SQCT management had also invited a new Local Tourism Organisation, Darling Downs Tourism, to discuss how its planned activities may support the industry’s growth.
“Darling Downs Tourism is one of a number of Local Tourism Organisations we will continue to meet with in the spirit of collaboration to bring about the best outcomes for Southern Queensland Country,” Dr Summers said.
“As the Regional Tourism Organisation, we hope these ongoing discussions with LTOs ensure activities on behalf of their members and partners are complementary and we avoid unnecessary duplication of effort to ensure all of our collective resources are maximised.”