TALKING TOURISM: Mark Olsen, general manager consulting for EC3.
TALKING TOURISM: Mark Olsen, general manager consulting for EC3. Meghan Kidd

Tourism push is on for the Central Highlands

THE Central Highlands could be as big as the Kimberleys.

Without having to travel to Western Australia, the tourism industry is hoping to promote home turf and bring in the big bucks.

EC3's general manager consulting Mark Olsen believes it could be marketed on the map.

Speaking at the CHDC Investing in our Futures Conference, Mark said to make the most of our region we needed to drive tourism.

"The Central Highlands could be more famous than the Kimberleys," he said.

"To be successful in the Central Highlands you need to take holidays here."

He said in Queensland tourism was taking fast strides forward to being a $30 billion a year industry.

"That's huge potential for this part of the world, but now ask yourself, why is the Kimberley eight times more popular than here?" he said.

"Tourism doesn't just affect hotels and motels, it impacts accountants, cleaners, lots of industry, and everyone benefits, everyone should be taking their holidays locally.

"We need to grow product here."

CHDC tourism development officer Peter Grigg, having returned from six days at the Qld Caravan, Camping and Touring Holiday Show in Brisbane, said promoting the Highlands was high on its list.

"There were about 70,000 people at the show. It allows us to talk to people and see where they're going and how much they're spending," he said. "It's critical to be at these shows.

"We get it reaffirmed to us every time we're at these shows, that the big ticket items are the Gemfields and Carnarvon Gorge."

Mr Grigg said a lot of people passing by their stall had either been out this way, or planned to visit.

He said the organisers from the annual Gemfest were in attendance promoting the festival.

"They had their own stand which was fantastic," Mr Grigg said.

They went down to reaffirm people had heard of Gemfest.

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