GOOD IDEAS: Councillor Rod Kelly at the tourism forum.
GOOD IDEAS: Councillor Rod Kelly at the tourism forum. Liana Turner

Council marks tourism forum a success

SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council has hailed its first tourism forum a success.

The forum, held at Stanthorpe Civic Centre last Tuesday, attracted about 100 tourism and related business operators, event organisers and volunteers.

Mayor Tracy Dobie encouraged further communication on the matter.

"The best way to do this is to give council a call or come in and see us,” Cr Dobie said.

"Come to council with your ideas and projects you want funding for and we will do our best to help you to realise them.”

Portfolio councillor for regional promotion, tourism and the arts Rod Kelly also welcomed the response to the day.

"There was enormous enthusiasm in the room and a real sense that they want to work together in a positive and collaborative way to drive tourism forward into the future for everyone's benefit,” Cr Kelly said.

"Guest speaker John Sharpe highlighted the importance of operators changing with the changing world, taking advantage of advances in digital technology and, above all, being proactive in developing and promoting their businesses - not just leaving this up to someone else.

"John's message about collaboration also really hit home. He spoke of the need for more businesses to work together, to work with industry groups, with council and other levels of government and I heard collaboration crop up a lot throughout the table discussions.

"At the end of the day, we all want to see more visitors coming to the region and we need to create unforgettable experiences to ensure that they return to the region. Working together is the only way to make this happen.”

Southern Queensland Country Tourism chief executive Mary-Clare Power said while there had been a drop in tourism on the Southern Downs and Granite Belt, she liked to look at the "glass half full”.

"There is strong growth across leisure and business tourism throughout the southern Queensland country region and it's pleasing to see some growth coming through the business sector after a number of quarters of decline,” she said.

SDRC's Economic Development and Tourism Unit will issue notes from the forum to operators this week and will report back to the industry with campaign concepts for spring and summer.

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