21 October 2021
The future of events across the Southern Downs and Granite Belt will be prioritised over the next five years following the adoption of the region’s first events strategy at the recent Southern Downs Regional Council Ordinary Meeting.
Funded by the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund Round 4, the bespoke strategy will support and stimulate a reinvigorated regional events industry following strong growth off the back of ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns.
The strategy will ensure that the potential of the Southern Downs’ events sector is realised whilst being underpinned by a comprehensive work plan that will be regularly updated to ensure progress is being made on its goals.
Southern Downs Councillor Stephen Tancred welcomed the adoption of the pivotal strategy and looked forward to the events industry realising its full potential.
“The events industry has fought back strongly and experienced an inspiring revival following drought, bushfires and COVID-19,” Councillor Tancred said.
“Many Queenslanders have discovered our part of the world for the first time during COVID-19 and we look forward to enticing them back to attend our many and varied events.
“The Southern Downs is home to an iconic calendar of major events such as the Warwick Rodeo and Campdraft, Jumpers and Jazz in July and the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival, plus a many number of eclectic and quirky events like the Granite Belt Art Trail, the Killarney Bonfire and the Allora Autumn Festival. There is something for everyone and this strategy will underpin an increase in visitors to the region.”
Events bring in valuable tourism dollars from outside the region and one example is Warwick’s 2021 Great Australian Bites Festival which attracted nearly 20% of tickets from visitors.
“The positive economic impact and sense of local pride that a successful event brings to our region is significant and every event on the Southern Downs means jobs for venue workers, caterers, photographers, cleaners and opportunities for our businesses,” he said.
“Specifically, the strategy seeks to future-proof existing events, attract new events and build a suite of diverse events that will drive tourism and boost economic outcomes for local businesses.”
The strategy outlines five primary enablers to drive event success which include amplifying the destination profile, producing a year round calendar with hallmark and major events, putting a strategic focus on return on investment, facilitating event sustainability and enhancing event facilities.