The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is one of the biggest tourism draws in the Somerset Region.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is one of the biggest tourism draws in the Somerset Region.

Free membership available to tourism network

THE COVID-19 lockdown has had a profound impact on towns and businesses in the Somerset Region, which rely heavily on travellers from State Highway 17 and the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.

To help the industry recover, the local council is issuing a special offer to cover the membership costs for a national tourism network.

The Australian Tourism Data Warehouse is the country's largest and most comprehensive tourism network, and is jointly managed by all eight of the official Australian State and Territory Tourism Organisations, as well as Tourism Australia.

The ATDW has its listings published across more than 250 advertising online platforms nationwide, as well as numerous retailers and physical distributors.

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Membership of the network is open to businesses in the accommodation, attraction, food and drink, tours, hire businesses, transport, and general tourism services, but currently only fifteen businesses in the whole of the Somerset are members.

This means the region only has limited coverage on the ATDW platform, which some sites such as Visit Brisbane and use as their sole source of information.

The council has opted to fund one-year ATDW membership for eligible tourism operators in the Somerset.

This will be a once-off initiative, funded by money budgeted for the reprinting of the region's yearly tourism guide.

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Councillors voted in support of the plan.

"I hope this is taken up, I think it will be very successful," Cr. Cheryl Gaedtke said.

Council officers are already in the process of communicating with local businesses and agencies about the situation.

This is the latest in a slew of decisions council has made in recent weeks to ease the burden on local communities, with rate due dates being set back, dumping fees waived, and concessions being given to business who are struggling due to restrictions.

More stories by Nathan Greaves