Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Call for United Tourism Push

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Call for United Tourism Push

Article excerpt

Byline: JULIAN LUKE

A GROUP of about 50 tourism operators met with Southern Downs Regional Councillors (SDRC) on Monday night to raise concerns about Granite Belt Wine Tourism (GBWT).

GBWT has come under pressure to meet council-set key performance agreed expectations.

The meeting was pushed by promotional tourism website Stanthorpe Escapes owner Terry Rasmussen, who also owns Granite Gardens and Luxury Cottages at Thorndale.

Mr Rasmussen said there were concerns about how GBWT was operated, including the fee structure.

"The meeting was about the overall dissatisfaction of the GBWT," he said.

Mr Rasmussen said the concerns largely centred around the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre, as non-GBWT members cannot display their brochures at the centre.

"(Operators) are not happy about the (GBWT) fee structure. Some are paying $300 and others are paying $2000 - it's all out of whack," he said.

"Our main concern is that we want one united tourist industry here and we'd like to see the one united governing body throughout the whole shire."

Sutton's Juice Factory and Cidery owner David Sutton was at the meeting in Stanthorpe, but said he was very happy with the way the GBWT was being run.

"At the end of the day if you want to promote your business you have to pay your money," Mr Sutton said.

"Personally I'm happy with the GBWT. It's worked well for us, but I can appreciate that other people are upset.

"The more members you've got, the stronger the organisation gets and the more promotion and funding you get."

However Mr Sutton did say he felt tourism would operate better if the various organisations across the Southern Downs, including Warwick Tourism and Events, Southern Downs and Granite Belt Regional Tourism and GBWT, operated under the one banner.

"I think it would be better if they were gradually rationalised," he said. …

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