October 30, 2019
The Visit South Burnett Local Tourism Organisation (LTO) will seek a formal partnership with the South Burnett Regional Council.
The move was decided at the first meeting of the newly formed South Burnett Tourism Advisory Committee.
The new committee was set up to advise Council after complaints from tourism operators last year that the region’s tourism economy had stalled.
At two public meetings held in Kingaroy and Wooroolin in late 2018, operators said the Council’s tourism marketing efforts were failing to achieve any turnaround in the region’s fortunes.
They called on Council to consult more broadly with tourism industry operators rather than a handful of businesses.
The SBTAC held its first meeting in late August, but minutes of that meeting were not released until last week.
The meeting was chaired by Tourism portfolio leader Cr Danita Potter with Cr Gavin Jones as Deputy Chair.
Mayor Keith Campbell, CEO Mark Pitt, Senior Economic Development Officer Craig Tunley, Tourism Officer Julie Foley, and Governance Manager Carolyn Knudsen also attended.
Representatives from the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce, Nanango Tourism and Development Association and Visit South Burnett LTO were invited to provide industry input.
Murgon Business and Development Association was also invited to take part, but did not send a representative.
The meeting was told that up to 10 years ago there was substantial investment in vineyards and cellar doors, bed and breakfasts and related tourism infrastructure throughout the South Burnett.
However, this ground to a halt after the 2011 and 2013 floods and there had been few signs of recovery since.
This lack of investment in new tourism ventures had reduced job creation opportunities.
Visit South Burnett president Jason Kinsella said the LTO was incorporated and ready to assist with the region’s tourism marketing efforts.
But its progress was stalled due to a lack of support from Council.
Mr Kinsella said the LTO required official Council support to form a relationship with a suitable Regional Tourism Organisation and access State Government funding for marketing.
The meeting agreed that Visit South Burnett should present a formal partnership proposal to Council, but voted this process be completed outside the SBTAC.
The meeting also agreed to meet quarterly in future, with the next meeting scheduled for mid-October.