New tourism and economic development strategies set path for growth
Published on 13 March 2023
Western Downs Regional Council has adopted a new five-year vision for continued economic growth, with dedicated tourism and economic development strategies to pave the way for new and exciting opportunities in the region.
Council recently endorsed the two new strategies (Tourism & Destination Events Strategy and Economic Development Strategy) following extensive community engagement over previous months.
Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said the strategies would set a clear vision for economic development and tourism opportunities to advance the region's reputation as a place to do business, and a destination of choice for travellers.
"We have a strong, resilient, and diverse economy here on the Western Downs, and these strategies clearly identify where we need to be focusing our efforts over the next five years to achieve our intended outcomes," Cr McVeigh said.
"Extensive stakeholder and community feedback was sought and incorporated into the strategy, with over 140 people completing surveys and more than 100 people taking part in engagement sessions during the first phase alone.
"With help from the community, we have identified the existing opportunities we can further-leverage, as well as the challenges that we need to address to ensure our region continues to grow and prosper.
"The strategies identify housing supply, lack of services such as childcare and specialised health care, and limited provision for tertiary education in the region as the key challenges facing our region's economy, so this strategy is about focusing our efforts towards addressing these issues.
"In terms of tourism and destination events, we need to explore opportunities to establish our region as an 'end destination of choice' for repeat visitors, and add-on opportunities for drive-through visitation.
"We have a fabulous region with ample opportunity to grow local businesses, industry, and tourism opportunities, and we'll continue partnering with stakeholders and the broader community to implement real action under these strategies."
Regional Australia Institute CEO Liz Ritchie said the RAI supported the Council’s bold vision for growth.
“One of the key elements to achieve regional economic business growth is growing our population base. Our 11 years of research tells us that to attract people into the regions we need to address liveability and amenity.
“Western Downs Regional Council is one of the valued members of the RAI Regional Activators Alliance, a group committed to building a better future for regional Australia. We commend them for this initiative in actively looking to the future to rebalance the nation.”