Pushing for tourists to the Central Highlands hotspots

The Carnarvon Gorge is one of the jewels in the Central Highlands tourism crown.
The Carnarvon Gorge is one of the jewels in the Central Highlands tourism crown. Darren Jew

TOURISTS will be reminded of the natural and man-made wonders the Central Highlands has to offer in 2013.

With the softening of the resources sector across the Bowen Basin, the Central Highlands Council is pushing for a renewed focus on tourism.

Industry specialist Peter Grigg has been retained to implement key elements of a report commissioned by the council last year.

New relationships with neighbouring western tourism organisations could be forged, and an existing memorandum of understanding with Capricorn Enterprise reviewed and updated.

"We need to be clear about what is going to work best for us, going forward," Corporate Communications and Strategy executive manager Monica Sidhu said, admitting in a report the council's previous approach had been "somewhat hands off" and advertising was "ad hoc at best".

"Peter Grigg gives us the opportunity to realise what is possible," she said.

Ms Sidhu called for a more targeted and strategic approach to promote the Central Highlands to the right audience.

Mr Grigg's report, sponsored by the Central Highlands Development Corporation, recommended tourism be higher on the council agenda.

"He visited the Gemfields, spoke to caravanners under the bridge, van parks and motel operators and a high priority would be a fully-equipped site available for additional camping in Emerald," Deputy Mayor Gail Nixon told councillors at a November meeting.

"He is also suggesting a minor charge in parking, no matter where. He talked about coal mine tours and had lots of ideas for tours going from the towns and also about promoting Gemfest a bit more.

"He was also very impressed with Carnarvon Gorge and thought we could value add with tourists."

It is suggested a website and social media be used to spread word to lure visitors.

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