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In this Newsletter: 
  • CEO Update
  • Unearth Country Campaign
  • Young Tourism Leaders Program
  • ATDW Platform Update
  • Ecotourism Citizen Science Grants
  • Toowoomba Agritourism Event
  • Events Elevator Workshop
  • Ariat Warwick Rodeo
  • Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail
  • Member Spotlight - Diamondvale Estate Cottages
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Central Queensland Highlands. This visit marked the beginning of the new relationship between the Central Highlands Regional Council and Southern Queensland Country Tourism as they become an integral part of our RTO region. Our journey across the region gave us the opportunity to engage with dedicated operators, sharing our collective vision and outlining our plans for the future of Tourism across the Central Queensland Highlands.
This week, I find myself in Newcastle attending the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) convention. This gathering is a platform for industry leaders, offering insights, discussions, and strategies pivotal for the growth and sustainability of our sector.
In the realm of sustainable business growth and technological advancements, a notable mention goes to Google's newly updated generative artificial intelligence virtual assistant. Sissie Hsiao, Vice President of chatbot Board, highlighted that this revamped version would allow users to input pictures or audio, aiding in tasks such as planning holiday itineraries. This integration of a mobile phone’s camera and microphone into the AI model is indeed a game-changer.

Building on this momentum, we are working towards a greater understanding of the world of AI. Our aim is to explore its vast potential and begin sharing capacity-building topics for tourism operators eager to navigate this space. We believe that embracing AI can offer transformative solutions, enhancing the travel experience for visitors and providing operators with innovative tools to elevate their offerings. We will share more information on this as it becomes available.

On the global front, Australia has proudly emerged as the premier destination for medical tourism. According to a study by Universal Drugstore, we scored an impressive 9.3 out of 10, primarily attributed to our world-class healthcare and robust R&D systems. The study took into account various metrics, including the number of surgical and cosmetic surgery Google searches by international travellers. With the medical tourism market now valued at approximately US$31.9 billion, Australia stands tall, surpassing nations like Germany, Canada, France, the UK, Ireland, and Turkiye.

Lastly, I'd like to draw attention to the recent initiatives by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ). They have unveiled new assets related to Mountain Biking, which includes two captivating videos and a series of articles detailing various mountain biking trails and experiences across Queensland. Whether you're an avid mountain biker seeking challenging trails or someone who enjoys cycling as a leisurely holiday activity, these assets cater to all.

As we continue our journey together, I remain optimistic about the future of tourism in our region and am committed to fostering growth, innovation, and collaboration.
SQCT’s latest consumer campaign ‘Unearth Country launches October 31, 2023 and we invite you to participate!

Our Spring/ Summer campaign is the perfect opportunity to feature in front of our 120,000+ strong social media audience and 50,000+ engaged subscribers. 
We currently have opportunities for 18 member businesses to join us on this campaign from as little as $300 + GST. 
Keep an eye out for the campaign prospectus which will land in your inbox in the coming days. If you could like more information, please contact .
Nominate Tomorrow's Tourism Leaders Today!

The tourism industry is filled with dedicated individuals who are shaping the future of travel in Southern Queensland. If you know a young, passionate individual who stands out in their role, now is the time to shine a spotlight on their achievements. We encourage you to nominate them for the .
This program champions accomplished Queenslanders who are making significant strides in the tourism sector. They play an important role in inspiring the next generation by sharing their career journey and emphasising the diverse opportunities that a career in tourism offers.

We're proud to share that our very own Sheree Gilles recently participated in the Young Tourism Leaders Program. Her experience is a testament to the enriching opportunities and growth the program offers.

Don't miss the chance to nominate a deserving individual. Let's celebrate the young talents who are driving our industry forward!
Nominate Now
The ATDW platform and branding launch is now set for 2024 due to platform build delays. Rescheduling to next year ensures the platform's optimal functionality and allows the industry to integrate and utilise the new features during a typically quieter period.

If you haven’t set up an ATDW listing yet, now's the perfect opportunity. Ensure your business stands out to consumers via the Southern Queensland Country website.

Before we transition to this new phase, it's crucial to keep your ATDW account in check:

✅ Verify your email address.
✅ Thoroughly review and update your profile(s).

Eager for a preview of what's in store? Dive into the details and get a glimpse of the new platform .
Learn More
Ecotourism Citizen Science Grants: A New Opportunity for Tourism Operators
The Department of Environment and Science has introduced the Ecotourism Citizen Science grants, offering up to $20,000 to support the integration of new citizen science experiences within Queensland’s National Parks.

What's on Offer? Tourism operators have a unique chance to develop projects that involve guests and staff in activities benefiting the environment, First Nations peoples, and local communities. Projects promoting citizen science participation, especially those contributing to conservation or threatened species recovery within protected areas, are highly encouraged.

Eligible Activities Include:
  • Events or projects contributing to research for Queensland’s terrestrial and marine parks.
  • Threatened species data collection, including video/audio recordings.
  • Analysis of previously collected data.
  • Enhancement of existing citizen science projects.
  • Activities utilizing enhanced/new technology or training resources.
For a comprehensive understanding of eligibility and guidelines, please and refer to the frequently asked questions.

Application Details: Applications are now open and will close at 4 pm on Wednesday, 8 November 2023.

Need Assistance? Our Special Project Officer, Steph Parker, is available to assist with applications and provide letters of support where possible. Additionally, a briefing session is scheduled for Thursday, 12 October, with Lynn Forrester from QPWS to provide more insights. 
Learn More
🌾 From farm stays to immersive farm experiences, agritourism is rapidly becoming one of the most significant growth sectors in Australia's tourism industry. Dive into the world of agritourism with us and hear about the journeys of successful agritourism ventures. This workshop aims to ignite passion, inform participants, and foster connections for those keen on intertwining tourism with their farming practices.
📅 Date: 1 November 2023
⏰ Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (GMT+10)
📍 Venue: Clifford Park Racecourse, Hursley Road, Newtown, Queensland, Australia

  • Engaging sessions on the rise of agritourism in Australia.
  • First-hand accounts from successful agritourism entrepreneurs.
  • Networking opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals.
  • Complimentary morning tea and lunch.

Registration will close on 25 October 2023 at 4:00 PM.
Register Now
Southern Queensland Country Tourism (SQCT) invites you to the Events Elevator workshop, a platform to share insights on running a triumphant event. This workshop is open to all events within the Southern Queensland Country region.

📅 Date: Nov 18, 2023
⏰ Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (GMT+10)
📍 Location: Burke and Wills Hotel, 554 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba
Key Takeaways:
  • Financial Planning: Dive deep into future financial strategies, including diverse income streams such as sponsorships and grants.
  • Event Experience: Learn the art of creating memorable event experiences that leave a lasting impression.
  • Trending Topics: Stay updated with major event trends, with a special focus on sustainability and accessibility.
  • Team Building: Understand the significance of building and retaining a dedicated team, emphasising the role of volunteers.
Additional Information:
  • Morning tea and lunch will be provided.
  • To ensure maximum participation, there's a cap of two attendees per event.

Registration Deadline: November 10, 2023, at 5:00 PM
Register Now
23 to 29 October 2023 | Warwick Showgrounds

Get ready for Australia’s most famous rodeo event!

The Warwick Rodeo and Campdraft is embarking on another thrilling year, and you won't want to miss it.
Event Highlights:
  • Experience the adrenaline and excitement of the rodeo events.
  • Witness the elegance and skill of the campdraft competitions.
  • Special VIP Experience from 26th to 29th October at Warwick Showgrounds. For more details, email .
  • Join the MacIntyre Wind Farm Project Site Tour on 27th October from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm.
  • Don't miss the Art Union Prize Draw on 28th October at 5:30 pm at Warwick Showgrounds.
For camping options during the event, consider staying at Australiana Park, conveniently located near the showgrounds.
Learn More
🎨 Discover the Artistic Heart of the Granite Belt! 🎨

The Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail, fondly known as GBART, is a celebration of creativity and talent in the region.

This bi-annual event spans three days and is set to take place on the last weekend of October.
What to Expect:
  • Explore the diverse range of local artisans, from studios and galleries to community spaces.
  • Experience an open studio 'meet the maker' event.
  • Gallery hop around the Granite Belt, from private studios of artisans to collectives in award-winning cafes and wineries.
  • Immerse yourself in the creative ambiance of our village's small halls.
  • Enjoy a self-drive trail that showcases the picturesque landscapes of Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt, including national parks, mountains, renowned wineries, and delightful cafes.

Special Highlights:
  • Engage in classes, watch live demonstrations, and even try your hand at some crafts.
  • Revel in the springtime beauty of Queensland’s Granite Belt Wine Country, known for its fresh produce, gourmet food trails, and boutique cellar doors.
  • Witness the orchards come alive with vibrant spring blossoms and savor new vintage wine tastings.

The trail starts at the top of the Granite Belt in Dalveen and meanders south to the New South Wales border. It's not just an art exhibition; it's an experience!
Learn More
Nestled in the heart of Stanthorpe, Diamondvale Estate Cottages offer a blend of yesteryear's charm with today's luxury.

Set amidst 30 acres of enchanting natural landscapes, Diamondvale provides a serene escape where guests can disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with nature's beauty.
The estate boasts four individually designed, fully self-contained cottages, each radiating a unique country charm.

Whether you're sipping morning coffee watching wildlife, enjoying local wine by the fire, or settling in for a movie night, Diamondvale ensures a tranquil retreat.
Learn More


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