Leaders move to overturn 'damaging' perceptions of drought
LOCAL leaders are determined to overturn potentially-damaging perceptions of drought and despair in an effort to encourage more tourists to choose the Southern Downs as their next holiday destination.
Mayor Tracy Dobie said portrayals of the drought, which has been labelled the worst in living memory, could give holidaymakers the wrong impression of our region and dissuade tourists.
The mayor said it was important to get the message out that people in country areas like the Southern Downs were still happy, optimistic and welcoming.
"I don't think our region looks unattractive. Even when it is dry, there are still beautiful parts of our region," Cr Dobie said.
"It is not about having a bad experience because we are in drought. There are so many other things that people look for in an experience than whether the grass looks dry in paddock.
"It's about giving visitors an all-encompassing experience where they are greeted by friendly people in the street and see the whole range of activities and experiences we have to offer here."
The mayor said working together and providing tourism packages would be key to ensuring the industry's growth this year.
"No tourist business can operate by itself," she said.
"Someone doesn't just come to sleep in a bed. They come to do a range of things."
Glengallan Homestead Trust chairwoman Donna Fraser said her business was holding a meeting tomorrow to look into opportunities to develop package deals with other tourism operators.
"If we can offer those complete solutions I think we will notice quite a change," Cr Dobie said.
"Attracting people to the region is multi-layered. I think tourism organisations are doing a fantastic job and now we encourage operators in the region to do their own marketing as well.
"I want people to come and see that we are up beat and positive about the impact the drought is having on our region."