by Mick Doyle
A FOCUS on opportunities and economic development has been the blueprint for the Western Downs Regional Council's new strategic plan to attract tourism.
It is hoped the five year plan that was unveiled on Wednesday will allow council to continue economic growth in the Western Downs.
The plan has outlined success factors for the council until 2022, as well as themes and priorities to focus on.
Mayor Paul McVeigh said the new plan wanted to optimise the region's opportunities and major events.
"This is the first time council has ever had a strategic plan for tourism,” Cr McVeigh said.
"We've already seen some exceptional local and major events this year, confidence in our local economy is growing, and our low unemployment rate places us in an ideal position to really focus on driving tourism and economic development.”
"These strategies give us clear direction and a focus on enabling industry and business development, enhancing liveability, developing our tourism product, and destination marketing.”
The idea of the strategic plan is to give council a guideline to engage business and the community in the tourism sector.
"Everyone is a part of tourism; when people stop into the Thomas Jack Park and then go into our businesses, that is what draws people back,” Cr McVeigh said.
Councillor Donna Ashurst said discussions about implementing the new strategies had already begun.
"Our Tourism and Economic Development Department is already engaging with chambers across our region, as well as state government, tourism industry bodies and Southern Queensland Country Tourism on ways to enhance tourism and economic development in the Western Downs,” Cr Ashurst said.