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Dalby businesses need to join forces to hold tourism market

ROLLING ON: Ken and Barbara Kennedy stopped in Dalby for directions, before moving on to St George.
ROLLING ON: Ken and Barbara Kennedy stopped in Dalby for directions, before moving on to St George. Elouise Quinlivan

WITH no free campsites, and little room to manoeuvre a campervan, grey nomads Barbara and Ken Kennedy are just some of the many travellers who drive through Dalby without stopping.

"We buy food and see the sights in each town and that puts money back into the local economy," she said.

"Since Dalby isn't RV-friendly, it's dangerous to pull a caravan over by the side of the road."

Southern Queensland Country has polled 20,000 posts online to highlight ways to bring tourists to the region and what is holding people back.

Dalby Info Centre volunteer Terry O'Brien said there was huge potential for local businesses to connect and develop a strong tourism industry.

Ms O'Brien said visitors sought access to Dalby's unique attractions.

"We get a lot of questions about what is grown and produced out here as well as the saleyards and our ethanol plant," she said.

"Dalby has a lot of long-term travellers come through and quite a lot of backpackers as well."

She said many people came to the info centre from around Dalby with business-related questions, whether that's a delivery driver looking for an address or the drive-in, drive-out workforce.

"It would be great to see a bigger level of cohesion between the events that happen and the motels to work packages with events to keep people here longer," she said.

Western Downs Regional Council mayor Ray Brown said while Dalby offered a dump point for caravans, the costs of a free camp site would fall back on ratepayers.

"Free camping sites are great, but then all of a sudden you cut out private enterprise from caravan parks, so we need to be mindful of that," Cr Brown said.

He said the best tourism opportunity was resident's friends and family visiting as well as sporting and cultural events.

With the nearest free campsite at Bowenville, Barbara Kennedy will continue on to St George before she and Ken stop again.

"The older travellers need places to stop regularly and RV-friendly towns ahead of the rest," Barbara said.

"We stay at caravan parks too, but we find the people at free campsites friendlier and keen to share stories."

Dalby is part of the Southern Queensland Country tourism region which received 79% positive mentions online, as part of a report prepared for the DestinationQ conference.

Southern Queensland Tourism chief Mary-Claire Power said while it was a positive report for the region and its attractions, it showed "...there are always ways we can improve.

Topics:  dalby, grey nomads, tourism, travellers


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