January 29, 2021
The South Burnett’s new Tourism Officer is looking forward to the challenge of increasing the region’s visitor numbers over the next few years.
Visit South Burnett (VSB) president Jason Kinsella began introducing Taylor Christies to VSB members and helping her settle into the role.
Taylor, a former TV presenter with experience in marketing high-profile celebrities, returned to Australia in September after working in the United States.
She said she decided to apply for the position after visiting the South Burnett and realising how diverse its attractions were.
Taylor said between the two dams, the Bunya Mountains, the South Burnett Rail Trail and the region’s wineries, the South Burnett had plenty to offer city dwellers in search of something different.
She is now settling into her new home near Wondai and setting up her office at the former Wondai Shire Council chambers.
Taylor was hired by VSB after a multi-month search for a suitable person to fill the role, assisted by the Southern Queensland Country Regional Tourism Organisation.
She will be employed on an initial one-year contract, funded by the Council, but will be working under VSB’s direction.
Jason said it was important Taylor work for VSB because if she were employed by Council they would be obliged to have her work office hours.
While those hours suited ratepayers they did not suit someone filling a Tourism Officer role, which entails work at night and over weekends when most tourist-oriented events happened.
Taylor said she plans to run social media workshops to help local operators learn how to raise their profile – and the region’s profile – by working collaboratively.
She also plans to build a new tourism website for the region that reflects its current attractions.
Jason said he believed that with the threat of COVID-19 slowly receding, 2021 was the right time to prepare the region for bigger tourist numbers.
“Many people were frustrated by the lockdowns and border closures – Brisbane was in lockdown again for a large part of January – and they want to get away to some place that’s not too far away, but different to what they see every day,” he said.
“The South Burnett is just about two hours from anywhere, and we’re completely different to anything on the coast.
“So we need to get out and raise awareness about what we have to offer, because people are eager for it right now.”
Jason said there was already evidence tourist numbers were climbing again after a long period in the doldrums.
Both Yallakool and Lake Boondooma tourist parks have been recording significantly increased visitor numbers during the past few months, and other local accommodation operators have also enjoyed a rise in bookings.
He said he had also been told visitor numbers on the South Burnett Rail Trail were continuing to rise, and grey nomad tourist numbers were up despite the long border closures.
“I think we’re in for a very positive future, and appointing Taylor is the next step in our plan,” Jason said.