Six tourism decisions to bring more visitors to the region
ALTHOUGH travel and tourism have been on hold for the past few months, the recent meeting of the Somerset Region’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee is already looking at ways to improve opportunities in the region.
With the Brisbane Valley and D’Aguilar Highways crossing through its borders, the small towns and associated businesses of the Somerset Region rely heavily on travellers.
Read on to find out more about discussions during the meeting.
Rail Trail upgrades
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail remains one of the region’s biggest attractions, offering ample opportunities for locals and visitors alike to run, ride or trek through the region’s ample natural beauty.
Among the discussions was an update on plans to carry out surface upgrades to the Fernvale to Lowood and Coominya sections of the BVRT.
Council representatives explained that despite their application being short-listed for funding, it was ultimately refused, and a new source of funding was being sought to cover the cost of the works.
Also discussed was the prospect of installing water bubblers along the Rail Trail to allow travellers to easily source a drink.
There are already water bubblers on the trail in Linville, Esk and Fernvale, with council funding allocated for installations in Lowood and Toogoolawah.
The council said they would also investigate the possibility of installing bubblers at Moore and Coominya as well.
Councillor Helen Brieschke mentioned a recent TV segment featuring things to do within 150km of Brisbane, with the Somerset receiving no mention.
She suggested that more needed to be done to market the Rail Trail and the region’s other assets, to encourage more visitors from beyond the Somerset.
While noting that they had no power to control what other programs chose to air, the committee resolved to submit additional marketing content to Brisbane Marketing in coming weeks, to be included in upcoming advertising campaigns.
Somerset Regional Business Alliance representative Mark Wells recommended that the committee explore the creation of new opportunities in the region, including motorbike and boat tourism, and the infrastructure to go with it.
The committee took the decision into consideration, and resolved to investigate the Motorcycle Friendly Towns program.
A topic of discussion raised by community tourism representative Paul Lawson was whether council-operated overnight camping areas in the region could be reopened following the reduction of restrictions in June.
SRC CEO Andrew Johnson said the decision of when to reopen the campgrounds was dependent on advice from health authorities.
“Council will be guided by the chief health officer and will open locations upon their advisement,” he said.
“Decisions will be made in conjunction with DTMR, as a number of these rest areas are on their land.”
As many tourism attractions in the region – such as the Rail Trail and Wivenhoe Dam – are partly under the purview of DTMR or Seqwater, committee members had a range of requests and questions for those departments.
Council’s director of planning and development Luke Hannan suggested these groups would be more inclined to engage with the meetings if questions were prepared and sent to them ahead of meeting dates.
The committee resolved to invite DTMR to a future meeting, and all members were asked to prepare questions to be sent prior to the invitation being sent.