VISITOR NUMBERS REVEALED: How tourism helps Southern Downs
THE Southern Downs is turning to tourism for help with a series of new initiatives set to bolster the local economy during drought.
The $333 million agricultural industry has always been the greatest employer in the region, providing almost 2500 jobs in the 2017-2018 financial year.
But as historically dry conditions ravage the region, the Southern Downs Regional Council is renewing their focus on tourism, hoping visitors from across the range may provide the spending boost the region desperately needs.
During her mayoral minute, Mayor Tracy Dobie said the council must educate Queenslanders about the importance of visiting and spending their money in the region during drought.
An online marketing campaign highlighting events such Jumpers and Jazz and Snowflakes in Stanthorpe reported significant success within southeast Queensland over autumn and winter.
The campaign used social media and digital display advertising to show more than 4.13 million people why they should visit the Southern Downs.
Of those millions of impressions, more than 15,000 people clicked through to the tourism website, increasing the performance by 154 per cent.
Mayor Tracy Dobie said it was important for big, local events to attract the tourist dollar.
"It's so important to keep every single event going even though we have a water shortage," she said.
"When there are people out there saying we can't have these events because we don't have water we need to keep reinforcing that we will be having these events.
"We'll do everything we can to support these events."
Online clicks translated into people in Warwick, where a recent report showed an annual increase of 992 visitors for a total of 4499 during June and July.
Though the figures were an improvement on the previous year, they fall far short of numbers in 2013 when more than 6000 people visited Warwick within the two months.
The results were not so favourable in Stanthorpe where visitor numbers dropped slightly this winter.
4325 people sought a winter wonderland in the famously chilly town over June and July, down 33 people from the previous year.
Compared with the start of the tourism record in 2013, this figure has dropped by more than a thousand people.
A free workshop will be held next Tuesday in Warwick to provide educational support to residents interested in entering the tourism industry and opening accommodation.