Winter festivals a hit with tourists
SOUTHERN Downs councillors have applauded the region's two major winter festivals, as July came to a close.
Speaking at the Stanthorpe Art Gallery, Cr Rod Kelly said Snowflakes in Stanthorpe signified the potential of events to drive tourism in the region.
Cr Kelly also commended Warwick's Jumpers and Jazz Festival.
"Myself and my fellow councillors want to acknowledge Snowflakes and Jumpers and Jazz in terms of the benefit they have for tourism,” Cr Kelly said.
"They are such important events for our region and we certainly plan to have the new Major Events and Tourism Department contribute strongly to them in the future because of the benefits that come.”
Snowflakes in Stanthorpe co-ordinator Nicola Holly said the size of the crowds at the first official event - the most visitors to the towns since 1998 - was unexpected.
"It was fantastic,” she said. "We had anticipated between 5000 and 6000 but it was closer to 12,000 people over the three days.
"There were queues through town, accommodation was booked out and people were camping at the showgrounds. We had a flow-on effect of people visiting the gallery.
"Some were saying it took four hours to get here from Brisbane and there were even people signing the gallery guest book from the Whitsundays and Townsville.”
Cr Kelly said while measuring the exact benefit of these "remarkable” events was difficult, the anecdotal evidence was clear.
The council will contribute a total of $36,000 to the region's major events this financial year.