General News

18 February, 2023

New era of shire tourism begins

TOURISM business owners from across the Mareeba Shire who want to see their sector grow, have been urged to be “one of the willing” and embark on a journey to elevate the region’s tourism industry to the next level at last week’s launch of the new Local Tourism Organisation (LTO).

By Rhys Thomas

More than 50 local business owners attended the launch of the new Mareeba Shire Local Tourism Organisation last week at The Billabong Kuranda
More than 50 local business owners attended the launch of the new Mareeba Shire Local Tourism Organisation last week at The Billabong Kuranda

Heading the new LTO committee is Councillor Lenore Wyatt supported by Mareeba Chamber of Commerce president Joe Moro alongside Maria Nastasi, who leads the chamber’s tour-ism taskforce, and council’s tourism and economic development officer Jessica Fealy.

Mareeba Heritage Centre chair Nipper Brown and Kuranda Traders Association president Dei Gould make up the rest of the committee.

Cr Wyatt said while agriculture re-mained an important economic driver for the shire, tourism has become an increasingly important factor in the economy of the region.

“Each of you will have intimate knowledge of your area but I do see the value in touching on our tourism sectors at a shire level,” she said.

“While agricultural production drives the Mareeba Shire and its econ-omy, tourism is having an increasingly positive impact.

“Prior to the pandemic the value of tourism in the shire had been on a steady growth trajectory.”

Mr Olsen gave a passionate speech about how businesses owners should get behind the new LTO and “cut through” all the other marketing noise to promote the Mareeba Shire.

“Our success together is to find a way to cut through all of the noise, speak specifically to a customer who we want to come and reach them seven to 11 times,” he said.

Mr Olsen believes capitalising on the massive reach that both Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Australia have, is an important step in advertising the region with Tourism Australia having the largest social media following of any tourism destination page on Earth.

A recent study revealed that Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef was the ninth most loved tourism destination on the planet, in the top 10 with the Maldives, Southern France and more.

“All I can do is implore you, get on board with this local tourism organisation, be one of the willing, be a willing partner and contribute ideas but be realistic,” Mr Olsen said.

Kuranda was the undisputed tourism destination in the region prior to the Covid lockdowns and chamber president Joe Moro is excited to see the possibility of Kuranda returning to that status once more through the help of the LTO.

“There is no argument that Kuranda is the pinnacle of tourism in the Ma-reeba Shire and we need to make sure it remains a powerhouse,” he said.

“We are going to try to leverage on every resource we can to promote all the important ingredients in the Mareeba Shire.

“We’ve come together, we are going to collaborate, work together and try to create the magic that we need to stimulate a lot more growth and excitement about our product.”

The next stage of the LTO is a think tank due to be held at the Cedric Davies Hub in Mareeba on 8 March.

One of the key actions of the LTO will be to hold an annual tourism forum each year to discuss possible ideas to strengthen tourism in the region.


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