Marion Carrick (left) is the new chairperson of Destination Southern Downs.
Marion Carrick (left) is the new chairperson of Destination Southern Downs. Ella Archibald-Binge

Tourism board’s based on skills

DESTINATION Southern Downs vice-chairwoman Marion Carrick has faith in a newly appointed board.

"The aim was for the board to be set up as a skill-based organisation and I believe that's what they've done," she said.

"I was surprised at first by the break-down, but there is representation from the north with Bev Ruskey and Majella Kahler, and Peter (Bonner) and I are from the south.

"I'm confident this is the right board."

The owner of Alure Boutique Villas said it would be nice if there was someone from the wine industry on board but that, realistically, it wasn't feasible to have someone from every industry.

"The question of whether there is someone from the wine industry on the board is irrelevant; otherwise we'll have to ask 'have we got a food person, a hotel operator, have we got someone from beer...'

"It's not reasonable to just point out wine," she said.

"There have been other occasions on previous tourism boards when there was either no food or accommodation represented. It would have been better if more operators had applied for selection on this board.

"We need to look at the big picture - what's best for the region."

Ms Carrick said, prior to the appointment of this board, tourism representation was unbalanced.

"The reality is, the entire Southern Downs is a tourism region," she said.

"Before, the destination marketing was focused largely on the southern end, and the event support on the northern end. This way we can improve the visitor experience and financial viability of the whole region."

As for concerns the Granite Belt region would lose its unique brand, Ms Carrick said "nonsense".

"The Granite Belt has a geographical indicator, and it is vital that continues to be promoted," she said.

"This is not a two-town argument - there are lots of areas that need and deserve representation.

"I recommend any concerned operators take a breath, relax and give the board a chance to do what they need to do."

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