Council takes on regional marketing
Southern Downs Regional Council in Queensland is returning the responsibility of marketing and promotion of tourism back to Council to support local businesses on the ground.
Tourism is a part of the economy as a whole, and an important one. In the Southern Downs, tourism accounts for approximately six per cent of Gross Regional Product and seven per cent of employment.
Southern Downs Regional Council decided to bring the marketing and promotion of tourism back to the responsibility of Council after a number of years of the sector being represented by external organisations.
The Southern Downs has a number of key selling points: it is known as a short-break area for the growing South-East Queensland region.
It is known as the premier wine region in Queensland, it has two of the three largest National Parks in Queensland and it is the coldest part of the State.
The first stage of the tourism project was to bring Regional Promotion into Council’s auspice so that the entire tourism sector would benefit.
As a local government, the council is able to provide a more comprehensive level of service to the whole of the region.
This approach gives Council an enhanced ability to support all local businesses on the ground while still striving to strengthen and promote the whole region strategically.
The second stage was to develop an integrated marketing plan and deliver two major marketing tools: the annual Regional Visitor Guide (print and mobile-optimised digital version) and a new consumer tourism website with a search engine marketing campaign.
This marketing activity will be aligned with the State tourism agency (Tourism and Events Queensland) and the regional tourism organisation (Southern Queensland Country) to capitalise on their strong brands already in the marketplace and to ensure all activity reinforces each other.
The results have been better than expected. The visitor guide and website are in high demand and provide coverage for all of the tourism businesses in the Region.
The visitor guide and website are a part of the Region’s brand hierarchy and enhance the promotion of the Region for economic and community development. The Southern Downs Regional Council’s Economic Development Tourism Department has four goals, to increase the residential population, to increase the number of jobs, increase investment and increase visitors. The project will help to deliver these goals.