At the St George Visitor Information Centre volunteer Angela Passman, Tourism Manager Kim Wildman & Information Centre Manager Sandra Lee are ready to hand out Welcome Mate Packs.
At the St George Visitor Information Centre volunteer Angela Passman, Tourism Manager Kim Wildman & Information Centre Manager Sandra Lee are ready to hand out Welcome Mate Packs.

WELCOME MATE: Recent floods to bring tourists

THE recent rain has rivers running and spirits high in the Balonne Shire, prompting the launch of a new tourism campaign.

Welcome Mate is an incentive to bring more tourists to our towns, now that roads are all reopened and the drought looks to be almost over.

"All roads are open once again after the recent flood, which delivered hope after so many tough drought years and returned the river town region back to its picture-perfect best," he said.

"It's been a shocking summer across Australia, so we want to share our good fortune by launching 'Welcome Mate' to invite everyone on a road trip adventure to a different world where life is as fast or as slow as you make it."

The first 500 travellers to visit the St George Visitor Information Centre and say 'I'll be your mate' will be given a special pack, including a $20 Buy Balonne gift card, including exclusive discount vouchers, local merchandise and regional information.

'Welcome Mate' also includes a new Grey Nomad Visitor Services Ambassador Program which will embed visitors into the community for up to two months.

"This volunteer program connects visitors directly into the community so they can live like a local, meet new people, make a difference and most importantly have fun," Cr Marsh said.

Ambassadors will receive free camping in return for working some volunteer shifts at the Visitor Information Centre and helping with major events at the St George Showgrounds. Volunteering opportunities will also be available working on community projects throughout the Shire.

Major events for 2020 include Easter in the Vines, Yellowbelly Country Music Festival, and Thallon's long table dinner Grazing at The Watering Hole in front of the iconic painted silos.

Five hundred kilometres west of Brisbane, the region's seven river towns of St George, Dirranbandi, Bollon, Hebel, Thallon, Nindigully and Mungindi are all throwing out the welcome mat. "If you want the holiday of a lifetime come here where strangers are only 'mates' we haven't met yet."

Cr Marsh said part of the 'Welcome Mate' campaign is still under construction with residents coming together to create something quite special. "It features a beer-loving horse, a jillaroo on a Harley and a two-metre-tall Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat. All I can say is watch this space."


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