Bringing in the tourism experts
QUEENSLAND'S Can Do Government has turned to the Sunshine Coast's go-to man to help revive the ailing tourism sector throughout the state.
Mr Noosa and Mooloolaba Triathlon Garth Prowd was at the Noosa Heads Surf Club welcoming of the Melbourne Cup to the Coast when the word spread that the former Noosa News sales rep and USM Events founder had been appointed to the new Tourism Queensland board.
These days Mr Prowd is a USM consultant, having sold his stake but he is currently helping re-invigorate the Noosa Jazz Festival as just one of his side projects.
The late US composer Marvin Hamlisch wrote the song Nobody Does It Better for Hollywood, but it could well be USM's theme song under the leadership of Mr Prowd who organised the triathlon for the 2001 Goodwill Games and a host of other major events.
Mr Prowd is not offering any silver bullets to help overcome a high Australian dollar and the series of economic meltdowns in Europe and America, but he has never lost his belief that event tourism is a shining light.
"We've got the best product around, but it's going to be a lot of hard work," he said of Queensland tourism.
"I think there is a commitment there now to get us back up to where we should be in terms of tourism."
Mr Prowd said local operators can't rely on the Aussie dollar dropping to get tourists back.
"We have to keep investing in the product we have ... at the end of the day we need more tourists to stay longer," he said.
"I was involved in so many tourism bodies very early on when I was working at the Noosa News, I lost count of the number of meetings I went to where nobody really seemed too sure what you had to do to drag tourists here.
"And nobody seemed too sure about actually measuring what you were doing was working or not.
"It was when I went to America and was exposed to the World Pro Ski Tour, that opened up my eyes about event tourism."
Mr Prowd said the ski resort he moved to in the US had no snow, no tourists and was looking to close down.
"And then this World Pro Ski Tour came to Northstar (ski field) where we were and people started trucking snow in and people were coming from all over," Mr Prowd said.
"If we can get people to Queensland they like to move around a fair bit - not too many people come to just one destination any more."
Mr Prowd said he expected the board under new chair Stephen Gregg will get together soon to discuss a new direction.
Tourism and Major Events Minister Jann Stuckey confirmed she has every confidence the incoming board has the depth of experience to make a significant contribution to getting tourism back on track.