The Southern Downs Regional Council says a national wine expert “has been secured to assist with wine tourism recovery in the Southern Downs and Scenic Rim Regional Council areas following last year’s bushfires”.
A council spokeswoman said that “with more than 30 years’ industry experience, Jan Douglas has been appointed to the role of Wine Tourism Recovery Officer”.
“This position is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments as a component of the 2019 Queensland Bushfires Community Recovery Package under Category C of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements,” the spokeswoman said.
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said this high profile appointment would make a difference to the area.
“The appointment of this Wine Tourism Recovery Officer is all about providing additional supportfor the Southern Queensland wine sector,” Ms Jones said.
“While COVID-19 has played havoc with the state’s tourism sector, the re-opening of intrastate travel will allow visitors to drive to the Southern Queensland wine area, which covers the Scenic Rim, Warwick and the Granite Belt to sample their great wines.
“As many of the region’s local tourism operators navigate recovery from natural disasters and COVID 19 travel restrictions, the new role will support businesses and industry through key projects and events with a focus on driving wine tourism business development, growth and resilience.”
Southern Downs Councillor for Tourism Stephen Tancred said the recruitment of Jan was “a triumph for the region, with her national skills and experience value-adding and complimenting the existing professionalism of the local winemakers”.
“Spanning three decades in the wine industry, Jan’s wine pedigree is both impressive and extensive and we are lucky to have the services of a successful wine marketing expert,” Cr Tancred said.
“The region’s winemakers will link in with the Scenic Rim region to show food and wine lovers the best South East Queensland has to offer.
“Queenslanders are supporting the Southern Downs in the post-lockdown short travel spree and our exceptional Granite Belt wines are the front and centre reasons for that popularity.
“The new role will help the wine industry extend the current busy times into the summer months.
“Cellar door sales are the mainstay of sales for many wineries and Jan’s experience will help support the local industry to better understand distribution channels so they can extend their sales into the best restaurants in Brisbane as well as coastal resorts.
“Taking wine to people is just as important as bringing people to the wineries.
“The drought, bushfires and COVID-19 lockdowns stretched our wine and tourism industry close to breaking point.
“This initiative will help our resilient operators re-launch into summer and beyond.”
Queensland Wine Industry Association President Mike Hayes said the QWIA “is looking forward to working closely with Jan, the Southern Downs and Scenic Rim Regional Councils and the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation to support wine tourism recovery and face the challenges together”.
“Bringing Jan on board with her broad experience in both wine and tourism will enable cellar doors and other businesses to get much needed hands on support which is required for the region to recover in these difficult times,” Mike said.
The role of the Wine Tourism Recovery Officer is contracted until the end of 2021.