November 6, 2019
An official agreement between the South Burnett Regional Council and the Visit South Burnett local tourism organisation (LTO) is in limbo.
At the August meeting of Council’s Tourism Advisory Committee, the meeting was told an agreement between the Council and LTO was essential for Visit South Burnett to gain access to marketing funding from Tourism Queensland.
Council support for the LTO was also necessary for Visit South Burnett to form relationships with Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) such as Southern Queensland Country, Fraser Coast Tourism and Events or Brisbane Marketing.
These three RTOs control the main gateways for tourists entering the South Burnett.
Mayor Keith Campbell – who attended the meeting – told southburnett.com.au Council was willing to support the LTO so it could do these two things.
However, he said to date the Council has received no agreement that Councillors can review.
Visit South Burnett initially attempted to form a relationship with the Council soon after the SBRC cancelled its membership of the Southern Queensland Country RTO in August 2017.
At that time, the LTO proposed Council give the $60,000 annual membership fee it formerly paid Southern Queensland Country to Visit South Burnett so local tourism operators could take over the region’s tourism marketing.
Alternately, the group proposed Council keep hold of the funds, but allow Visit South Burnett to recommend where the money be spent.
Negotiations between the two groups collapsed several months later when Council elected to retain the funds and give sole responsibility for tourism marketing to its Economic Development Unit.
Since that time, some tourism operators have complained the industry has slumped.
This led to two heated public meetings of tourism operators late last year, and the formation of the Tourism Advisory Committee.
The new committee is composed of representatives from the Murgon Business and Development Association, Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nanango Tourism and Development Association and Visit South Burnett.
Its purpose is to advise Council on the region’s tourism marketing efforts.
Mayor Campbell said the group was composed of representatives from the region’s business groups because he believed most businesses stood to benefit – directly or indirectly – from tourism.
In addition, many tourism operators were also members of these local business groups.
NB. Visit South Burnett was invited to comment but southburnett.com.au did not receive a reply prior to publication.