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Stay up to date with the latest news from Southern Queensland Country Tourism. 

17 Jan 2019: Update from Mary-Clare Power

Happy New Year to you all!

It’s our second week back in the office and we’ve hit the ground running!  Although I will admit the first week was tough – no afternoon nap!

We launched our summer campaign #MySummerInSQC competition last week to increase awareness of the region’s Summer experiences and encourage people to get beyond the beach to discover the cooler side of Summer in the country.  We’ve had more than 70 entries so far and we’d love your help to push it out to your social media followers- see below for more on this.  It’s a fabulous prize; a SQC holiday to the value of $2000 for up to 4 people. Thanks to Vacy Hall, Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre and Girraween Environmental Lodge for supplying the accommodation. Your support is invaluable.

I was very pleased with the release of the latest National and International Visitor Survey results last Wednesday which revealed record international tourist numbers for our region and very good results for domestic visitation. Our challenge continues to be in encouraging longer stays and converting some of the current 3.9m day trippers to overnight visitors.

We’d love to see you at the next Tourism Advisory and Networking Group (TANG) meetings. Please put a date claimer in your diary for Tuesday 12th March (Southern Downs & Granite Belt) or Wednesday 13th March (Toowoomba, South Burnett & Western Country). We will provide more information in the coming weeks about meeting content and venues. Great things happen when we get together and make plans!  PS. There’s a prize to whoever comes up with a better name/acronym than ‘TANG’!!!

We’re running FREE Digital Workshops from mid-March to June. Details are included below. I vigorously encourage you to take advantage of these workshops and sign up to extend your knowledge and skills in this important marketing and conversion space - you may think you know all you need to know – but things in the online world change rapidly so why not arm yourself with the latest tips and tricks from the expert team from Tourism Tribe.

We’re looking forward to another busy and exciting year.  We hope you are geared up for what we’re confident will be a terrific Autumn and Winter season as people turn their minds from the beach to the gentler lifestyle and cooler climes of the country. 

If you have any queries or would like to discuss any aspect of tourism in our region, I’m always happy to assist. Call me in the office on (07) 4632 1988 or on my mobile 0439 321 988. 





18 Dec 2018: Update from Mary-Clare Power

Season’s Greetings...

Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?!  This is the last update for the year from the SQCT team.

I recently attended the Trip Advisor Destination Leaders Forum in Sydney. We were one of only three Regional Tourism Organisations Australia-wide to be invited to attend, along with State Tourism Organisations and National Tourism Organisations from the Asia-Pacific Region. Jointly hosted by Trip Advisor, UNWTO and PATA, the forum attracted CEOs and CMOs from 50-plus tourism bodies who heard presentations from a range of keynote speakers and engaged in high level discussions covering topics impacting global tourism. On the agenda were global travel trends, the role technology will play in the future, crisis management and recovery, over and under tourism, mining data to measure success, and Asia Pacific Aviation Trends. Case studies from Nepal, Cook Islands, Australia, Thailand, Tahiti and India provided valuable insights. It’s been a busy year and a particularly busy and productive first six months of the financial year; here’s a look at some of the highlights. We’re all looking forward to a break over the holiday period.  Our office will be closed at 4.00pm Friday 21 December and will reopen at 8.30am on Monday 7 January, 2019. For any urgent matters please contact me on my mobile 0439321988. On behalf of my team, I wish you a very happy festive season and safe travels if you’re venturing away. We look forward to coming back in the New Year, refreshed and rejuvenated to continue doing our very best for the tourism industry in Southern Queensland Country.

Ho Ho Ho!




29 Nov 2018: Update from Mary-Clare Power


On behalf of the Southern Queensland Country team I’d like to extend a big congratulations to Queensland Tourism Award winners, Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers who collected GOLD in the Major Festivals and Events category for the fourth-year running at the awards held at The Star Gold Coast on Friday 16 November. The win acknowledges the enormous appeal Carnival has for both locals and visitors. I’d also like to acknowledge Toowoomba Regional Council, Ross Begent, and Co-ordinator Kate Scott and her dedicated Carnival team for all of their wonderful work. The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is now off to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards to attempt Queensland’s first Hall of Fame induction in ten years. A big thank-you and congratulations must also go to all of the SQC operators who took the time to enter this year's QTA. It's a big job submitting an entry and I know some of our SQC people left the night disappointed. Hopefully you still had a good night!!! I urge you all to consider entering next year. Apart from the excitement of winning and the associated marketing opportunities that brings, there are tangible business analysis benefits to putting in an awards application; it really gives you an idea of where you are focusing your energy and how you’re tracking.So if it’s something that you’ve been thinking about doing next year - just do it! Keep an eye on the QTA website for entry dates and details.

I attended two really worthwhile conferences in the past fortnight - last week was the annual DestinationQ Forum, which brings government and industry leaders together to discuss priorities for ensuring the industry remains competitive. A raft of interesting trends were discussed, one  I’d like to pass on was highlighted in a keynote presentation on Generation Z, by Claire Madden a prominent social researcher and author of Hello Gen Z – Engaging the Generation of Post-Millennials’. In a nutshell Claire related the importance of understanding the travel motivations and culture of younger travellers (those born in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s) who have not known a time without the internet in order to attract them to your destination – even down to the kind of language they use and respond to on social media. I will provide a link to Claire’s presentation once it appears on the DestinationQ site in the coming weeks.  In the meantime you may like to have a look at Claire’s website. 

This week I attended Ecotourism Australia's 2018 Global Eco Conference in Townsville. It focussed on the unique ecotourism opportunities we have here in Queensland and the benefits that ecotourism can bring to our regions. As you know, we have many beautiful national parks here in SQC – Girraween, Bunya Mountains, Main Range, Ravensbourne and Crows Nest to name a few and many beautiful natural places - rivers, wetlands, lakes, waterfalls mountains and forests. Of particular interest was the discussion around making the most of the natural beauty of our national parks while getting the balance right between visitor enjoyment and conservation. I’m really happy to chat more with anyone working in or considering working in this area. 

As always, I am available to discuss any issues you may have or just to have a chat about the current state of tourism in our region. Please contact the office on 07 4632 1988 or my mobile on 0439 321 988. 




15 November 2018: Update from Mary-Clare Power


This week we held the last of our Tourism Advisory Networking Group Meetings (TANGs) for the year. We caught up with our Western Country partners via teleconference and met face to face with operators in Toowoomba and on the Southern Downs followed by an early celebratory Christmas drink.  You’ll notice the word ‘Networking’ has been added to the mix – as we want to shift the focus of the meetings to not only be a real exchange with us, but also a great opportunity for you to actively network with each other – to be informed about what your fellow operators are doing, and forge ways to work together to make our region more appealing to the visitor.  Thanks to those who have consistently supported the meetings - we recognise it’s not easy to leave your businesses to attend, but knowing what’s happening and how you can plug into opportunities is a great investment. I welcome newcomers and those who haven’t been for awhile; keep an eye out for the next round of TANGs in the newsletter.

You may have seen the Southern Queensland Country Regional Tourism Workforce Plan released recently by Jobs Queensland which outlines some of the challenges the state and regional tourism sector faces with staffing. The issues it raises re finding and retaining skilled staff are concerns reiterated in feedback from a number of our Southern Queensland Country operators who’ve spoken to me about the difficulties they face in finding suitable people to fill important roles in their businesses – whether they be chefs, baristas, front of house staff or cleaners. We can take some consolation in the fact that we are not alone in this - it’s a state and nation wide issue. I’m aware of the stress it creates and am always available to chat through your concerns.  I also urge you to read the SQC Regional Tourism Workforce Plan on our Facebook page and to take particular note of four key priorities it sets out for improving our prospects - improving the industry’s profile and attractiveness; building a sustainable labour pool; enabling the industry’s capacity to grow and flourish and building the industry’s capacity to address local issues and develop innovative solutions. 

Tourism’s night of nights – the Queensland Tourism Awards is on tomorrow night, Friday 16 November at the Star, Gold Coast. I’d like to acknowledge the operators who have taken the time and effort to submit an entry. It is always good to win but the real prize is the valuable insights about your business you’ll have gained by going through the process. Congratulations to our awards entrants:Toowoomba Carnival Of Flowers, Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival, Grovely House Bed and Breakfast, Miles Historical Village Museum and the wonderful Miles Historical Village Museum Volunteers. It’s wonderful to see this record number of entries from our region – we wish you all the very best of luck and we’ll be there cheering you on regardless!

‘You may have caught two big news items yesterday - Chinchilla’s Big Watermelon is the newest ‘big thing’ and the Big Skies Festival program for 2019 was launched at Jimbour House with a special guest appearance by John Paul Young ... congratulations to our Western Downs partners! 

Please keep in touch if you have any issues you’d like to discuss or just to have a chat about the current state of tourism in our region.  Call the office on 07 4632 1988 or my mobile 0439 321 988. 






1 Nov 2018: Update from Mary-Clare Power

It’s November … how did that happen?!  The year seems to have slipped by, although when I look back, a lot has been achieved in our region – many successful events have been staged,  both large and small, new properties have opened and we’ve seen steady growth in tourism visitation. 

Recently I was asked by Queensland Business Monthly to comment on the long-term vision for our region for a special tourism issue of the magazine – part of the Courier Mail’s Future SEQ Campaign.

The issue, which was published last Friday, looks at how the state and local governments, regional tourism organisations and the industry are planning to attract visitors to South East Queensland in the next 25 years.  It profiles Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and our region, and looks at  'the potential, the challenges and the ideas and opportunities'  that we can develop to ensure the tourism growth and prosperity of the south east corner.

I spoke about the potential of the proposed public garden mooted for Toowoomba’s old Bridge Street quarry site to ignite tourism growth in this region. Toowoomba is already known as the garden city, so establishing the Quarry Gardens would be a natural extension of that, but on a much larger scale.  It would give visitors another really compelling reason to come here and would encourage the development of other attractions and accommodation. 

I also spoke of the importance of business tourism and the benefits of a top conference centre in Toowoomba which would even out visitation to capture more mid-week stays and the flow on effect of pre and post conference touring for the rest of our region.

While the publication examined South East Queensland, I think it’s also a good opportunity for each operator to ask ‘where are my opportunities and where should I be focusing my business planning?’ – as what you do each day will lead to the business you have in 25 years.  Food for thought.

In other news, we held our Annual General Meeting at The Empire Theatre on 22 October which resulted in some changes to the SQCT board. We say a heartfelt thanks and goodbye to industry representative Jo Berry from Kingsley Grove Wines and to Cr Rod Kelly who steps down as the Southern Downs Council representative.  We welcome to the board Southern Downs Mayor, Cr Tracy Dobie and welcome back Steve Burns, owner of Nindigully Pub – it’s wonderful to have a representative from the Balonne area and it was great to see other Balonne operators show strong interest in standing for election.  The board met directly after the AGM and is looking forward to reviewing our current strategy at their strategic planning meeting in early 2019. If you have any feedback or input, please contact a board member – they represent your region and your industry.    

As always, I am available to discuss any issues you may have or just to have a chat about the current state of tourism in our region. I’m on 07 4632 1988 in the office  or mobile 0439 321 988.