This 72.9-carat blue sapphire was found in the designated fossicking area at Graves Hill.
This 72.9-carat blue sapphire was found in the designated fossicking area at Graves Hill.

Gemfest and key events secure funds

THE Central Highlands has proved to be quite the rare gem when tourism comes to mind.

In a major coup for the entire Capricorn region, Tourism and Events Queensland announced yesterday funding for four major regional events for 2014 as part of Round 26 of the Regional Development Program.

And the Central Highlands is well represented, with its Gemfest - Festival of Gems, which takes play on the Gemfields from August 7 to 10, and the Central Highlands Multicultural Festival, on August 23, both named as successful events.

"We are delighted to have so many of our wonderful regional events now eligible for TEQ event funding," Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll said.

"The past 10 years have seen a great deal of movement within the events industry right across the nation, so it's very exciting to see the maturation of our existing events as well as the development of new events.

"Congratulations to the volunteer teams behind these events."As well as the money spent by the events themselves on operational costs, festivals and events bring a lot of business to their host communities, with people spending on accommodation and transport, in restaurants and cafes, and in retail business."

The funding comes after regional areas were highlighted as the go-to spots for tourism.

Capricorn Enterprise team members, who recently attended the Australian Tourism Exchange in Cairns, reported interest from the industry wholesalers and retailers who massively influence the destination choices of holidaymakers around the world.

"Our one-on-one appointments with domestic and international travel trade delegates was double that of last year," Mary Carroll said.


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