Region needs tourist 'magnets'
THE Fraser Coast should be doing more to promote tourism in regional areas, said mayoral candidate Gerard O'Connell.
With tourism one of the top industries on the Fraser Coast, Cr O'Connell said council should be promoting existing attractions in rural areas as well as looking to create an environment where potential tourism operations could easily open in these areas.
"Places like Tiaro and Burrum Heads have great museums, Bauple has the Macadamia House ... council should be doing more to promote things like this," Cr O'Connell said.
He said that more traditional aspects of Fraser Coast tourism, such as whale watching, Fraser Island and the beaches were still important but more needed to be done to enhance the industry as a whole in the region.
"Whale watching and Fraser Island are just not enough (for the region to rely on for tourism)," Cr O'Connell said.
After promoting the concept of rural tourism, he said the next important step for the council would be to make sure that anyone who wanted to start a tourism business would have the help they needed.
"We have to allow flexibility for people who actually want to do something," he said.
Attracting more backpackers to rural areas for work, on local crop farms or perhaps in fishing, were ideas Cr O'Connell mentioned, while farmers' markets and seafood markets could be a way to attract older visitors.
Another way to attract the "grey nomads" would be to set up more free overnight sites for motor homes, Cr O'Connell said.
He added that he did not think this would hurt existing caravan parks, as people in motor homes were already "not coming here because of the lack of free sites".