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Tourism Merger Possible?

Filed under Breaking News, Business, Latest News, Tourism

The Darling Downs Tourism Board at its formation in 2017 … back row, from left, Tony Heckendorf, Isaac Moody, Eleanor Kratzmann, Russell Peters and David James (absent: Geoff Davenport); sitting, then-CEO Ruth Wetmore and chairman John Wagner

January 22, 2019

Tourism promotion could face another shake-up following reports of discussions between Southern Queensland Country Tourism (SQCT), the privately run Tourism Darling Downs and the State Government.

Tourism Darling Downs chairman and acting CEO John Wagner has written to members saying he had been approached by the State Government to discuss the future of tourism in the region.

“It was my suggestion that having two tourism bodies was counter-productive, but I was not prepared to compromise unless there was a wholesale change in the way tourism was being handled in our region,” Mr Wagner wrote.

He said local councils had also been involved in the discussions.

Tourism Darling Downs was set up by Mr Wagner in May 2017 after a public falling out between the businessman and the “official” regional tourism organisation, SQCT.

At the time, Mr Wagner slammed SQCT in the media as an “absolute joke” and a “disgrace”, and suggested taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ dollars were not being spent wisely in the region.

Several South Burnett operators joined the new association and Bunya Mountains restaurant proprietor Eleanor Kratzmann was appointed to the Board.

In February last year, Toowoomba Regional Council voted to join Tourism Darling Downs but also maintained its membership of SQCT.

Western Downs Council is also a member of both associations.

In August 2017, South Burnett Regional Council voted to leave SQCT and brought tourism promotion in-house.


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2 Responses to Tourism Merger Possible?

  1. Rob Langford

    Joining SQCT would be like boiling your cabbages twice! We have the means and the opportunity in the South Burnett to promote our region in the best possible light and see genuine value for each dollar spent.

  2. Rob Langford

    Has anyone considered a TOURISM ADVISORY COMMITTEE for the South Burnett?

    After working away for six months I came back with fresh eyes and didn’t see too much going on.

    What happened to the great ideas? The ideas that could be turned into proposals. Then turned into plans and developed into events. New ways to promote the South Burnett as part of a journey or more importantly a destination.

    Do you want to talk about what could have been, or what we can do now? Let’s start a conversation!

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