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Big milestone for Wagner-backed Tourism Darling Downs

Some of the lettering at the launch of Tourism Darling Downs.
Some of the lettering at the launch of Tourism Darling Downs. Tom Gillespie

THE John Wagner-backed Tourism Darling Downs has already hit the 100-member mark, just three months after launching.

CEO Ruth Wetmore said she hoped to continue the positive growth of the tourist organisation after the launch of its website, www.visitdarlingdowns.com.au, on Friday.

Laying out a vision for experience-based tourism in the region, Ms Wetmore said the not-for-profit organisation would take its membership drive to a new level in the near future.

New Tourism Darling Downs CEO Ruth Wetmore speaks at launch of the group.
New Tourism Darling Downs CEO Ruth Wetmore speaks at launch of the group. Tom Gillespie

"We've got five new members in the past two days (and) we have not yet made a single outbound call," she said.

"Our next step is to meet with the councils to see what we can do for them.

"There are some particular marketing things we'd like to do.

"I see our role as promoting the region, which we're going to do more aggressively now.

"We're going to be doing more sessions and masterclasses.

"It's about getting more members on board, because we can add value to all businesses, even if they weren't originally in tourism."

The new website also shows that TDD's reach will stretch beyond the Darling Downs, with Goondiwindi, Kingaroy and the Lockyer Valley all included as part of the organisation's coverage.

Ms Wetmore said the focus would be on the "low-hanging fruit" of tourism dollars within Queensland and Australia, before working up to international markets.

"80 per cent of the folk who come to the Darling Downs, come from within Queensland," she said.

"Another 18 per cent come from other states, so I believe we have a lot of opportunities to market to Queenslanders - that's our lowest-hanging fruit.

"We're going to be the boots on the ground in that campaign.

"International tourism is a slower burn.

"But we have our toes in the water making sure we position ourselves well so that market finds us attractive and appealing," Ms Wetmore said.

International tourism numbers have improved over the past year, according to SQCT CEO Mary-Clare Power.

Topics:  john wagner southern queensland country tourism toowoomba tourism


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