EXPLAINED: Where fishing tourism future is headed
FROM Baffle Creek to the Boyne Valley and everywhere in between, key stakeholders hope to read off the same navigational chart when it comes to plotting a course toward a unified fishing tourism strategy for the region.
Forging a way forward was discussed at length at a Gladstone Region Fishing Tourism workshop on Monday facilitated by local consultancy group Amarna.
The workshop, the first of three sessions, focused on developing a positioning statement.
Representatives from business, industry, tourism and fishing all took part in the workshop at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre.
Amarna director Lyndal Hansen said the aim was getting key stakeholders focused on a common goal.
"We are trying to ascertain if there's an appetite to develop a Gladstone-specific fishing tourism strategy that fits in with other strategies and doesn't go out on its own," Mrs Hansen said.
"When you think about all the economic benefits tourism has, why not narrow and focus on fishing tourism because we have all the infrastructure we possibly need.
"We don't need millions in infrastructure because we've already got it.
"We've already got a lot of people coming into this town but they're coming in for different reasons, whether that be from a business point of view, family or friends coming in, but we don't we capitalise on that.
"We've got a whole lot of beautiful reefs, rivers, estuaries, the harbour and from Baffle Creek, Agnes Water and down to the Boyne Valley there's opportunities and this would be a collective strategy.
"The resources are there and everyone is doing their bit, it just makes sense to put the final touches on it in terms of fishing tourism and appreciate what we have, which isn't just an industrial region."
Further workshops are planned.
The second and third workshops will be held in the near future and will focus on creating a vision for the strategy, and to finally develop four to five specific strategies in order to create a holistic approach to the region's fishing tourism.
The region's peak tourism body - Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd - is expected to lead the charge.
GAPDL tourism manager Dominique Gleixner said the Destination Tourism Development Group should be the steering committee for the Gladstone Region fishing strategy.
The group was formed by GAPDL in October 2014 to act as the key co-ordination point for the region's tourism industry.
"GAPDL is in the final stages of the 2020-25 Destination Tourism Plan which will highlight the development of a regional fishing strategy as a priority," Ms Gleixner said.
"A Gladstone region fishing strategy would help in positioning the Gladstone region as a leading fishing destination not only in Australia but the world.
"It would aim to leverage off the unique natural assets like the Southern Great Barrier Reef and Lake Awoonga as well as the Boyne Tannum HookUp."