Tourism group launches campaign to change perceptions
AFTER five years experiencing a decline in tourism numbers in the region, a new committee has joined forces to turn the dire situation around.
Visit South Burnett launched its official campaign last night at Tara's Hall at Nanango to a packed out crowd.
President Jason Kinsella said domestic tourism was going to have a resurgence, due to issues like the coronavirus, but there was a silver-lining for regional towns.
However, he said one of the main issues they were facing in attracting new visitors was the confusion over the region's identity.
"We are still just 10 years into an amalgamated region before we merged five shires," Mr Kinsella said.
"They had their own identities and cultures.
"If you are going to tell people who you are and where you are from, you all have to sing from the same page.
"We need to build a South Burnett identity that everyone can share and Visit South Burnett will be the vehicle to do that."
He said the most important part of the evening was to get people in the room who were passionate, energetic and committed.
"They are here because they share our vision," he said.
"The management structure of the organisation was crucial for us to get right.
"We have drawn committee members from each sector of tourism and also geographically, from Blackbutt to Murgon.
"We have to put together a committee that represents all facets of our industry."
Alongside Mr Kinsella, Carolyn Stone from Passchendaele Farm Stay will manage the hosted accommodation portfolio, Gloira Kirkness from NaTDA will oversee the attractions portfolio and Julie Thomson from Kingaroy Country Motel will look after the motel accommodation portfolio and also be the committee's secretary.
Blackbutt Avocado Festival president Jeff Connor will take care of the events portfolio and Neil Black from the Pioneer Hotel will look after the food sector.
Mr Kinsella said they were still on the search for a community member to put their hand up for the agriculture portfolio.
He said the top priority of Visit South Burnett would be to encourage tourists to 'Stay another day'.
"The number one goal is to put packages and itineraries together to present at expos and to visitors," he said.
"We know that works in tourism and we haven't been doing that for the past 10 years.
"If you get some who is planning to stay Saturday and Sunday and they then stay until Monday, we know it's a 50 per cent increase in spends."
Visit South Burnett will host monthly meetings as they work towards creating a united identity of tourism in the region.