The tourism industry in central western Queensland can look forward to a stronger future under a collaboration forged between the industry and local government.
The Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) and the Outback Queensland Tourism Association (OQTA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will cement the organisations’ commitment to sharing information and resources, supporting initiatives, open communication, and encourage collaboration to support tourism in the Central West.
“A stronger collaboration between OQTA and RAPAD will make identifying the region’s tourism needs and challenges easier, help us close any identified gaps, and better position the tourism sector in both the RAPAD region and Outback Queensland region as whole,” said OQTA Chair Andrew Martin.
With over one million visitors to Outback Queensland in 2019, the new agreement will continue to proactively shape and create a prosperous tourism industry and help enable the entire region to become a national and global tourist destination.
“This MOU is not about advantaging the central west over other outback regions, it’s about formalising and putting a framework around our relationship with RAPAD, and we will look to formally develop relationships with other local government areas in the future,” Councillor Martin said.
“The MOU is a formal commitment by both organisations to avoid duplication at all costs and to maximise both organisations’ return on investment by working cohesively and to advocating for outback Queensland tourism with a united voice,” said Rob Chandler, Chair of RAPAD.
RAPAD is focused on tourism opportunities that will bring economic and social benefit to the region.
RAPADs Central Western Queensland Tourism Data Collection and Analysis project covered by the MOU and is a great example of how the organisations can work together.
The project was established after tourism operators at a RAPAD forum in 2018 identified a lack of specific data available for them to make informed business decisions.
Stafford Strategy has been appointed to undertake the project and work has commenced.
“We are excited to be working with RAPAD and its regional stakeholders, as it will allow each Council and community to work from a far stronger evidence base through the visitor data to be gathered and modelled for the region”, said Albert Stafford, Director of Stafford Strategy.
“We look forward to being in region in early February 2020 to meet up with councils, industry and other stakeholders throughout the region, as we need and value their insights and local knowledge to fill a number of the data gaps which currently exist,” he said.