Visitor numbers to the South Burnett appear to be declining … the new Tourism Advisory Committee will look at identifying opportunities to get tourism numbers to bounce back

August 23, 2019

A new group appointed to look into the collapse of the region’s tourism traffic is expected to hold its first meeting on Monday afternoon (August 26).

The new Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC), first floated as an idea by South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell in May, was adopted unanimously at the Council’s June meeting.

It will be tasked with reviewing the South Burnett’s annual tourism marketing plan and identifying opportunities to maximise tourist traffic.

Topics to be covered could include creating strategies to develop and enhance local tourism product; promoting emerging themes and visitation trends; and communicating those activities to key stakeholders and tourism operators.

At August’s Council meeting, Tourism portfolio leader Cr Danita Potter and Cr Gavin Jones were appointed as the TAC’s Chair and Deputy Chair.

The pair will sit with representatives from the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nanango Tourism and Development Association, Murgon Business and Development Association and local tourism organisation Visit South Burnett.

Council’s Senior Economic Development Officer Craig Tunley and Tourism Officer Julie Foley will be ex-officio TAC members.

Appointments to the volunteer committee will be for two years.

The TAC’s formation follows two public meetings held by local tourism operators last November and December which called for more industry consultation about the region’s tourism marketing efforts.

At both meetings, a number of operators reported they had suffered their worst trading year in memory and expressed dissatisfaction with Council’s marketing efforts.

The traffic declines reported by the region’s private sector tourism businesses have also been reflected in the Council’s own tourism operations.

Bookings have dropped substantially at Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen dams over the past few years, and there has been an even more significant decline in Visitor Information Centre inquiries.

Council currently budgets $800,000 a year for its Economic Development Department, which oversees tourism.

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