From Reef to Range: Cairns, Toowoomba Mayors discuss regional links

Opportunities to enhance links between Far North Queensland and the Darling Downs and surrounds were among topics discussed by the Mayors of the Cairns and Toowoomba Regions in the past week.

Opportunities to enhance links between Far North Queensland and the Darling Downs and surrounds were among topics discussed by the Mayors of the Cairns and Toowoomba Regions in the past week.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio today hosted Cairns Regional Council Mayor Cr Bob Manning OAM at an informal lunch as part of his stay in Toowoomba.

Mayor Antonio said he and Mayor Manning had held discussions with Queensland and Australian Tennis officials at last week’s Brisbane International tennis tournament.

“We were especially interested to hear from state and national tennis body representatives about how our respective tournaments are attractive events for the emerging tennis professionals,” Mayor Antonio said.

“These events are important dates on our respective calendars and continue to draw more international players as well as the cream of Australia’s rising tennis talent.

“Apart from tennis, Bob and I have spoken about exploring ways to attract our respective residents and other visitors to take advantage of the direct flights between our centres.

“The adage ‘opposites attract’ could be a great angle to exploit with visits to the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical north as one option balanced by the four seasons and regional variations on offer in the southern part of the state.

“We should never overlook our unique regional attractions that hold tremendous appeal for visitors from other parts of Queensland as well as further afield.

“As well as visits between the two centres and surrounding areas, Cairns also offers southern travellers a convenient international gateway. This has benefits for business travellers and people looking to establish new trade links both here and overseas.

“Tourism aside, we also see many benefits in exploring greater business opportunities between our respective regions.

“I greatly respect Bob’s past experience and direct involvement in not only tourism, but also marine and aviation sectors. He has a wealth of experience in numerous international business and management fields.

“He has enjoyed a few days relaxing and exploring in our region and will be able to pass this experience back to his northern colleagues. I’m looking forward to welcoming many more North Queenslanders to the Toowoomba Region.”

TRC Tourism and Events portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald said each city and region had particular expertise in sports tourism that could be further developed.

“While this is a niche market, Cairns has a number of national and international mountain bike events which are similar to events that have been staged here,” Cr McDonald said.

“The Hutchinson Builders Toowoomba International tennis tournament is held one week before the Cairns Pro Tour tennis tournament, so there is a chance to build on this scheduling.

“There is great potential to attract more northern visitors to tour southern Queensland in the spring and summer, especially via a package deal.

“We can promote unique experiences such as the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (with a start/finish point at Yarraman), which allows people to explore this region and neighbouring areas at their leisure.

“I’m also keen to learn more about how the Cairns Regional Council builds its links and funds community and sports groups.”

Both Mayors said additional work by respective tourism organisations was the key to boosting trips between the regions.

“We should never underestimate the pulling power of domestic tourism,” Mayor Manning said.

“No other city in Queensland is as pretty as Toowoomba.”

Caption: Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio (left) and TRC’s Cr Geoff McDonald (right) enjoy Queens Park with visiting Cairns Regional Council Mayor Cr Bob Manning OAM.

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