Airport developer John Wagner confirmed the new group would be formed in February.
Airport developer John Wagner confirmed the new group would be formed in February. Bev Lacey

Wagner leads breakaway tourism group in Toowoomba

BREAKING: A new tourism group will be formed in Toowoomba, with industry leaders confirming today they will break away from Southern Queensland Country Tourism.

A meeting at Wellcamp Airport today of a "broad section of tourism operators" from the region decided they could not work with SQCT and would form a new group.

John Wagner, a vocal critic of the regional tourism organisation - recently labelling it an "absolute joke" and a "disgrace" - confirmed a new local tourism group would be formed.

The airport developer said he facilitated the meeting and members of the industry would meet again in March for a workshop to work out what the structure of the new group would be.

He said since he'd raised concerns about SQCT, people had "vented their frustration" at the lack of progress that had been made and the lost opportunities in tourism.

He said under the present management of SQCT there was no alternative but to break away and start a new group.

"We're keen to get that happening," he said.

Mr Wagner said the model could be funded by local operators, or also work with local councils.

"We'd like a model not dissimilar to Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise," the former chairman of TSBE said.

"Where it would be membership-driven and an organisation run by passionate people for the good of the region."


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