NEW DATA: Statics reveal an increase in South Burnett visitor numbers.
NEW DATA: Statics reveal an increase in South Burnett visitor numbers. Heath Pukallus

Statistics reveal 'resurgence of tourism' in South Burnett

SOUTH Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said the region was enjoying a "resurgence in tourism" following reports more people visited the region in 2018.

Statistics by Tourism Research Australia reported domestic overnight visitor numbers increased by 18.6 per cent to 211,503 and domestic day visitors increased 17.4 per cent to 472,286, while international visitation increased by 5.8 per cent

The financial injection tourists brought to the region followed a similar trend - visitors spending in the region was calculated to be $114,465,879 last year, which is an increase of 19.4 per cent.

"After changing tack in 2017, the figures released from TRA prove that growth is occurring across the tourism industry, with higher growth in visitors and spending than Queensland and Australia," Cr Campbell said.

The change involved withdrawing from Southern Queensland Country Tourism and putting an "incredible amount of promotion" towards marketing the region through South Burnett Regional Council, using the Discover South Burnett campaign.

However, while these statistics are reason to celebrate, it is not all positive news as fewer people have visited South Burnett dams so far this year, compared to the same period last year.

As of July this year, year 673 people had stayed at Boodooma Dam, compared to 719 during the same period of time last year, while 628 people had stayed at Yallakool at Bjelke-Petersen Dam, compared to 805 for the same period of time in 2018.

"Given the Boondooma Dam is around 33 per cent full and Bjelke-Petersen Dam is at 5.5 per cent, it stands to reason there won't be as many visitations on account of lower water levels," Cr Campbell said.

Despite the downturn in dam visitors during the ongoing drought, the mayor said there were plenty of other reasons to visit the region, including the Bunya Mountains, wineries, the astronomy centre, rail trail and beautiful rural vistas.

To help South Burnett businesses make the most of tourism opportunities in the region, the new Tourism Advisory Committee met for the first time on Monday.

The meeting was chaired by Councillor Danita Potter and was attended by chamber of commerce representatives from each town.

Cr Campbell said he hoped it would help continue the conservation among businesses about how to benefit from tourism in the region.

"When we talk about tourism, my take is that it is not just those places like the wineries or hotels and motels. Tourists and day visitors support all businesses," he said.

"What we are allowing for through the committee is their ideas and comments to help build the region."