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The Toowoomba Regional Tourism and Events Strategy has been developed for the Toowoomba Regional Council to provide a clear direction for the development of tourism through to 2020. The state goal of doubling annual overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020 is the key context for the Strategy. In taking on this challenge regionally, Southern Queensland Country (SQC) sought to grow overnight tourism from its present value of $734 million of direct visitor spending in 2013, to a ‘stretch’ target of just over $1 billion by 2020. At a local level, Toowoomba Regional Council is aiming to grow their tourism market by $41.8 million by 2020.
This past year the Toowoomba region received approximately 867,830 domestic overnight visitors, accounting for 1.94 million domestic overnight visitor nights. Overnight domestic visitation has increased by an average of 5.4% per annum since 2011 and accounts for approximately 86% of all overnight expenditure. While domestic daytrip visitors have decreased by approximately 2.6% per annum since 2011, they remain the Toowoomba region’s key market segment, accounting for approximately 63% of all visitors.
Looking forward, the development of the new Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, the growing regional population and the growth of visitors into South East Queensland represent growth opportunities. The strategy identifies growth opportunities in two parts, with the actions required to retain market share of existing segments and leveraging these changes, and secondly the potential to stretch above that with additional investment in a number of growth market segments.
The current markets, and areas for growth of the core market include the 200km drive market, destinations with direct air services, and the business and leisure events markets. With additional investment, markets for growth include Visiting Friends and Relatives, attending or participating in sporting events, outdoor adventure enthusiasts, and business and conference visitors. This opens up the possibility of strengthening inter-state demand, as air routes are established. Internationally, New Zealand and Asia have the potential of becoming emerging markets, while efforts to leverage marketing campaigns underway by Tourism and Events Queensland and Southern Queensland Country Tourism could help draw new arrivals to the region.
In addition to maintaining market share in the core markets, which could retain at least $12M in visitor expenditure from current projections, the opportunity exists to invest in six growth markets (see below) the potential return and cost of investment is estimated below:
Action and estimated investment required:
Tourism & Events Strategy 2016 - 2020