How to grow tourism in the South Burnett
EVERYONE has their part to play in increasing tourism in the South Burnett, according to University of Southern Queensland tourism expert Dr Jane Summers.
"When people are planning a holiday they start to search the internet and looking for experiences," Dr Summers said.
"Regions need to be marketing their area.
"The South Burnett should be talking about their produce, the wineries they have, the experiences you could have on properties where people grow chillies, where people grow caper berries, so people can see them, pick them, taste them.
"It's those sort of experiences people search for to shape where they plan to go for their holiday.
"(Farms and wineries) are directly related to tourism, they may not think they are, put they form part of this region.
"They're front and centre in tourism really."
Dr Summers presented this message to the Southern Queensland Country Tourism industry conference in Kingaroy on February 21.
She said food tourism was paramount to growing all kinds of visitors to the region.
"What we do know from research Australian Tourism have done on food and wine, a lot of people don't see Queensland as a premium destination for food and wine," she said.
"What they do see Queensland as a premium destination for is produce.
"The South Burnett in particular has people who are growing beautiful fresh produce.
"People can go and see it growing, be part of the processing part of it, see it bottled and stomped and pickled, whatever part it is.
"That's the thing that Queensland can offer that no other state can and the stories producers can tell about their farm."
Dr Summers said the key to achieving a rise in tourist numbers was collaboration.
"It's about producers working together and with Southern Queensland Country, with the council and tourism people within the council, it's about working together," she said.
"No one is going to drive to the South Burnett to see a single caper berry farm, but they will drive here to be a part of different produce experiences.
"If they can see there is more than one, then they are going to be excited, they'll stay the weekend.
"They'll say let's go there, we can do all these things.
"It's about working collectively to create and experience.
"An example could be passing tourists around the region, say to them hey if you love this, go here, ask for Sally and she'll give you that personal experience."
She said the future of tourism in the South Burnett would be bright if people worked together.
"The South Burnett as with most most of the Southern Queensland Country region offers a unique experience to travellers, both domestically as well as internationally," Dr Summers said.
"It's the taste of living in the country, fresh air, clean living, how people know each other, the stories, the history, the heritage.
"Those concepts are becoming more and more valuable to tourists who want a more living like a local experience.
"All of Southern Queensland Country offer parts of that story that people are starting to value.
"Tourists like the things we take for granted every single day, it is what they want to experience.
"Embrace the lifestyle, celebrate it and be proud of telling those stories, that's what we have that other people don't have."