TOURISM: Tweed's tourism promotion will be taking a new direction after DR Tourism was awarded the major contract. INSET: DR Tourism Founder and Director Robbie Cornelius.
TOURISM: Tweed's tourism promotion will be taking a new direction after DR Tourism was awarded the major contract. INSET: DR Tourism Founder and Director Robbie Cornelius. Scott Powick

A new direction for tourism as Queensland group takes helm

THE new Queensland-based company responsible for promoting the Tweed is ready to deliver strong tourism development to the region, according to DR Tourism director Robbie Cornelius.

On October 1, DR Tourism will take over Tweed's tourism promotion, after it won the four-year Tweed Shire Council contract earlier this month.

The major council contract will see the company paid $950,000 a year, with an option to be extended by a further four years, totalling $7.6 million.

Mr Cornelius said his team was excited to tap into their wealth of industry knowledge to showcase the Tweed in the best light.

"We understand councils are starting to look at ways they can promote their respective regions in an innovative matter,” Mr Cornelius said.

"When we saw the opportunity to do that (at Tweed), to help individual tourism operators on a significantly larger scale in a larger region, we thought it was an opportunity to not only help a handful of tourism operators but an entire region.

Robbie Cornelius Position: manager of tourism, Fraser Coast Opportunities - DR Tourism
Robbie Cornelius Position: manager of tourism, Fraser Coast Opportunities - DR Tourism Glen David Wilson

"The members that make up our team all have strong experience working with regional and local tourism operators.

"We've got a wide range of industry experience, we've got together a very good team and we compliment each other and have different skill sets.”

But it's the expert knowledge of local industry leaders and volunteers that DR Tourism will be capitalising on to ensure they create an amazing tourism platform that will set the groundwork for years to come.

"For the purpose of this contract, there are a number of positions we'll need to fill,” Mr Cornelius said.

"Our intention is to set up an office for the duration of the contract (in the Tweed).

"While I can't say who we've selected yet, we will be employing a general manager who is from the region originally and is keen to get back there.

"As a part of our contract, we will obviously need to manage the visitor information centre. Volunteers play an intrinsic role in the information centres. We hope to retain most of the existing volunteer base if we can.”

Mr Cornelius said DR Tourism was already working with stakeholders to ensure the transition into starting the contract is as smooth as possible.

"We certainly don't want to come in and throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.

"Once we start the contract, we will need to do a review of the information centres and volunteers will play a key role with their advice moving forward.

"We have some ideas but we're very cognisant that we're going to need some advice.

"There's been very good work that's been done but our priority will be stakeholder engagement, meeting with tourism operators and groups to find out from them and see what they think has worked well and what doesn't.

"If you don't have the industry behind you, you're fighting a losing battle.

"We don't want to come in from the get go and make any assumptions on how we promote the Tweed. It's important we get the feedback from the stakeholders.”

DR Tourism met with outgoing tourism body Destination Tweed on Tuesday to discuss creating a seamless transition between the two organisations ahead of the change in tourism promotion contract on October 1.

The purpose of the meeting addressed issues such as staffing, volunteers and visitor information centres.

Tweed Shire Council's General Manager Troy Green said both parties were working well together to ensure the best outcome for the region's tourism industry.

"While no agreements were reached at this initial meeting as both entities needed to refer options to their respective boards, council was pleased with the professional attitude of both parties,” Mr Green said.

"There was an in principle agreement to work together to produce a smooth and positive transition in the best interests of the tourism industry and the community.”

Destination Tweed Chair Kylie Ryan-Milroy said Destination Tweed looked forward to completing a seamless handover to DR Tourism by the due date.

"As a representative industry body since 1990, Destination Tweed has almost 30 years of local history and relationships and we're excited to redefine our role via our members to determine how best to continue to support and grow this unique destination and its players,” Ms Ryan-Milroy said.

Destination Tweed will continue to run tourism services until September 30.



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