Bush B&Bs neglected by new shiny tourism campaign

Today’s Sunshine Coast Daily reports:

A SOUTHERN Downs tourism operator has slammed the latest Tourism Queensland advertising campaign as “beach-centric” and accuses the organisation of selling out the bush.

Stanthorpe accommodation provider Phil Moye said he was “completely frustrated” with Tourism Queensland’s continual focus on the coast.

The frustration of regional tourism operators is understandable, but it’s worth examining the facts.  According to ABS small area tourism data, out of a total 3.34 million room nights occupied in Queensland over January to March 2010, around 144,000 (4%) were on the Darling Downs.  Compare the Darling Downs’s contribution to Queensland tourism with the top four:

  • Gold Coast – 852,100 room nights occupied (26% of Qld total)
  • Brisbane – 816,300 room nights occupied (24% of Qld total)
  • Tropical North Queensland – 451,800 room nights occupied (14% of Qld total)
  • Sunshine Coast – 316,800 room nights occupied (9% of Qld total)

From this list it’s apparent that Queensland’s tourism sector is heavily reliant on the coastal regions.  While the Darling Downs clearly makes an important contribution to Queensland’s economy through agricultural production and food manufacturing, it isn’t a tourism powerhouse, and (relative to the Gold Coast and Tropical North Queensland) it probably won’t ever become one.

Darling Downs tourism operators may be better off with a Queensland Tourism campaign that focuses on our beaches – i.e., a campaign that plays to our strengths.  It’s possible that many tourists who are drawn to our iconic beaches and fun parks will end up taking a day trip or two into the countryside, possibly to a Stanthorpe winery.

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