Balonne Shire tourism operators are concerned COVID-19 has impacted on the peak season.
Balonne Shire tourism operators are concerned COVID-19 has impacted on the peak season.

‘It’s important to have tourists’: mayor welcomes visitors

CONCERNS were raised at a tourism operators meeting Tuesday morning about the reduced tourist numbers and the competition to attract Queensland tourists.

Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O’Toole said bookings in the area were low and there were few bookings coming in for the upcoming school holidays.

“It’s quite sad to see,” she said.

“Tourists at this time of year are from Victoria and NSW. Being so close to the border we have so many come in from over the border.

“We’re competing with places like the Gold Coast where they’re offering 50 per cent deals.”

She said in the fickle industry of tourism it was difficult to understand why tourists were staying way and what would attract them to visit.

Cr O’Toole said a Welcome to Our Place tourism strategy was aimed at encouraging locals to entice family and friends to come and visit and have a holiday in the region.

The strategy includes a video to use as promotion, proposed itinerary and deals on offer for family and friends.

“Tourism is so seasonal, it’s important to have tourists at this time of year,” Cr O’Toole said.

“It can only go up from here.”

Riversands Winery owner David Blacket agreed their usual visitors at this time of year came from south of the border but said they’d had a busy weekend following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions last week.

“We were a bit busy with the cafe on the weekend with local groups getting out,” he said.

“It’s starting to recover but I don’t think it’ll be a full tourist season.”

Articles contributed by Margie Maccoll are supported by the Judith Nielson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.


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