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.