The tourism sector in the region accounts for approximately 6% of the economy. The tourism industry is growing, with a 20% increase in output between 2011/12 and 2016/17. The region is a recognised short-break destination for South East Queensland and is home to the state’s premier wine district, the Granite Belt. The Southern Downs is known for its four distinct seasons, award-winning food and wine, striking natural assets and heritage buildings.
The Southern Downs also plays host to a number of major events including the Warwick Rodeo and Gold Cup Campdraft, the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival, Jumpers and Jazz in July and the Historic Leyburn Sprints. Warwick will also host the 2019 Polocrosse World Cup.
Key tourism enterprises on the Southern Downs include:
Key benefits of establishing a tourism business on the Southern Downs:
In 2016/17, the Southern Downs welcomed 822,294 visitors with overall expenditure of approximately $99million and 1.28 million domestic visitor nights.
Domestic day visitation has increased by an average of 8% per annum across the last decade.
The Southern Downs Regional Council is a key member of Southern Queensland Country Tourism, the regional tourism organisation providing extensive tourism marketing and development for the region in alignment with Tourism and Events Queensland.
Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Unit delivers seasonal marketing campaigns year-round to support all tourism operators, as well as operating the southerndownsandgranitebelt.com.au website and social media pages.