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Mayor delivers message to China – “Longreach is ready for the world”

Mayor Ed Warren has delivered a keynote address, inviting international visitors and investors to Longreach, while representing the region at the 2018 International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism in Zhengzhou, China.

The Mayor attended the forum as a sponsored guest of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

In his address the Mayor spoke about the efforts Council is making to open the region up to international visitors.

“We’ve been talking to all levels of government and industry, trying to remove as many barriers to trade and investment as possible” he told the forum. “We’ve had high level engagement with state and federal governments, industry groups, airlines, inbound and outbound wholesalers – anyone who’ll listen.”

“The message? Longreach is ready for the world.”

He told the forum that the appeal of coastal destinations is declining.

“Modern consumers want more from their holidays than the opportunity to simply relax in the sun. They’re looking for exclusive activities and experiences which are unique to a particular area and aren’t considered ‘mainstream’.”

He said the Longreach Region and Outback Queensland is perfectly positioned to offer these new experiences.

“We are where Queensland is at its most authentic, offering untouched wilderness and award-winning cultural and heritage experiences that, unlike a day on the beach, cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.”

“From a Local Government perspective, it’s a great opportunity, because it means that for Tourism to grow there must be an imperative to develop locally significant experiences.”

The gathering of 98 Mayors from all over the world is the fifth since the event debuted in 2008. As a major international event the International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism has grown into an important platform for municipalities to foster cooperation, share development opportunities and hold dialogues.

Mayor Warren said there was considerable interest in the Longreach Region at the forum.

“They’re so interested” he told reporters. “We spoke to several representatives, particularly the Chinese, who want to bring their own delegations to come and explore Longreach and the Central West.”

“I think what amazed them is we’ve got nothing really big to sell” he said. “Just lots of genuine opportunities. Our industry is here ready to work with anyone.”

The Mayor was joined at the forum by fellow Councillor Tony Martin, CEO of the Qantas Founders Museum, and Longreach Tour Operator Richard Kinnon. Cr Warren said the whole industry was ready to do business.

“We offer the definitive experience of what the world loves about Australia. I believe that Longreach is ready to welcome international visitors. Our industry is ready and, more importantly, our community is ready.”

Read the Mayor's full address here.