June 20, 2019
by Dafyd Martindale
South Burnett Regional Council has voted to establish a Tourism Advisory Committee to provide input into the Council’s regional tourism strategy.
The proposal to develop the committee was floated by Mayor Keith Campbell in May and adopted unanimously at the Council’s June meeting.
The new advisory committee will be chaired by Tourism portfolio leader Cr Danita Potter with another Councillor – yet to be decided – appointed as Deputy Chair.
The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Nanango Tourism and Development Association, the Murgon Business and Development Association and local tourism organisation Visit South Burnett will all be invited to nominate one representative each.
Council’s Senior Economic Development Officer Craig Tunley and Tourism Officer Julie Foley will also be ex-officio members.
Appointments to the volunteer committee will be for two years.
The Council has reserved the right to appoint stand-in or replacement members at any time, but industry members cannot.
In May, Mayor Campbell said the group’s objectives would be to review the region’s annual tourism marketing plan and identify opportunities to maximise tourist traffic.
He hoped the committee would also create strategies to develop and enhance the local tourism product; promote emerging themes and visitation trends; and effectively communicate these activities to key stakeholders and tourism operators.
In a letter sighted by southburnett.com.au, the Council listed these objectives as the new committee’s principal aims.
However, the letter provided no guarantee any of the committee’s ideas will be acted on.
Nor is it clear that any decision by the committee that Council not proceed with any particular project would have any effect.
Committee representatives will be required to behave responsibly and ethically, and will be required to declare any real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest.
However, committee members will not be required to work within tourism or demonstrate any level of knowledge about tourism marketing.
Committee members will be required to self-assess the committee’s performance each year.
The move to establish an advisory committee follows calls from local tourism operators for Council to consult more widely about its tourism marketing efforts.
At two public meetings last November and December, operators were highly critical of the direction the region’s tourism marketing has been taking since the South Burnett pulled out of the Southern Queensland Country Tourism organisation in August 2017.
They said council’s efforts had so far failed to arrest the steady decline in tourist numbers evident in recent years, and that industry experience about what worked and what had been tried and failed in the past was being overlooked.
Mayor Campbell said in May that Council’s view was that tourism affects all sectors of the region’s economy so the business community needed to have a say in Council’s tourism marketing efforts as well as tourism operators.