Goondiwindi's plan to boost tourism numbers

Goondiwindi's plan to boost tourism numbers

Life & Style
The first stage of the Yelarbon silo art takes shape in June 2019.

The first stage of the Yelarbon silo art takes shape in June 2019.

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More public art, new indigenous tourism offerings and getting out the word about the region's attractions are among the priorities highlighted in a new visitor strategy put together by the Goondiwindi Regional Council.

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More public art, new indigenous tourism offerings and getting out the word about the region's attractions are among the priorities highlighted in a new visitor strategy put together by the Goondiwindi Regional Council.

The council adopted the five-year strategy at last week's meeting in a bid to hone the region's visitor economy planning, marketing and development.

More than 216,000 people visited the Goondiwindi region in 2018-19, generating a total visitor economy of $66.8 million for the region.

Research has shown 27 per cent of those visitors are business related, with another 24 per cent visiting to see friends and family.

Mayor Graeme Scheu said the strategy will focus Council's efforts to attract new visitors to the region, retain its current visitor numbers and increase visitor expenditure.

"Tourism is a growing industry for us here the Goondiwindi region and in the dry years, it's the contribution of visitor dollars to our local retail businesses and food providers that can keep our region afloat," he said.

"Research shows that the majority of visitors to our region come here either for business, to see family and friends or for one of the many events throughout the year.

"We also have a great opportunity to attract new visitors in 2020 with Tourism Australia launching their new domestic campaign to 'Holiday here this year'."

Seven priority projects have been highlighted in the strategy, including mentoring local tourism operators in building experiences and digital capabilities, investing in detailed data about visitation, supporting public art projects, collaborating on indigenous tourism opportunities, sourcing funding to undertake a master plan for the Goondiwindi Boat Ramp area, supporting the Texas Country Music Roundup and considering recommendations to improve the Goondiwindi Visitor Information Centre.

The priority projects will be reviewed annually, allowing for new councillors to have a say on the future direction with the current priority projects chosen in in light of the March election to secure achievable outcomes during the transition to a new council.

Cr Scheu said public art was one particular focus that they felt could drive more people to stop in the region's towns, citing the success of the artwork painted onto the Graincorp Silos at Yelarbon last year.

"We also have our Lanescape event, which can see 1000 people come out each night," he said.

"I think public art is going to be so important, the number of people who are going through here to Thallon to see their silos show there are great opportunities."

The public artwork on the Yelarbon silos is expected to be completed by the middle of the year, with an $80,000 state government grant funding stage two of the project.

Cr Scheu said driving up visitation in the Goondiwindi region was a long-term project and that gathering more data on what brought visitors to town could help to unlock new opportunities.

"We know 66 per cent of our tourism comes up from the Newell Highway and southern roads," he said.

"There a lot of people who travel from south to north, particularly during winter.

"Tourism in the region is one of those sectors where we could have a never-ending wish list of projects we'd like to see, however, council cannot do that alone and partnering with the region's industry operators is critical in achieving that growth.

"I really think people are wanting to go to regional areas more and more... we are well-placed to take advantage of that."

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