New Era for Tourism in Central Highlands

3 October 2023

A tour of the Central Highlands marks a new era for our region’s visitor economy.

CHDC and the Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC) are this week hosting Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) CEO Patricia O’Callaghan; Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) CEO Brett Fraser; and members of the Southern Queensland Country Tourism (SQCT) team, including CEO Peter Homan and Chair Geoff McDonald.

The group’s visit signals the start of our region’s partnership with SQCT, soon to be renamed Queensland Country Tourism. QCT replaces Capricorn Enterprise as the Central Highlands’ official Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO).

Itinerary highlights:

  • An introduction lunch with CHRC Councillors and senior CHDC staff
  • A forum in Emerald to unveil QCT’s three-year strategy and provide clarity to tourism operators around the Queensland Country brand and the new relationship
  • Familiarisation tours of Emerald and Lake Maraboon, the Sapphire Gemfields, and Carnarvon Gorge
  • Meet and greet with local businesses across the region to gain a better understanding of the product offerings and industry needs

“Our expanded reach and diversified offerings are set to usher in a new era of unparalleled growth and development for the region, driving tourism and creating lasting socio-economic impacts,” SQCT CEO Peter Homan says.

“We are committed to working hand-in-hand with local businesses and industry stakeholders to cultivate sustainable tourism experiences that resonate with diverse traveller segments and contribute to the region’s prosperity.”

SQCT’s expansion into the Central Highlands is poised to unlock tremendous opportunities for regional growth in various sectors including: 

  • Drive Tourism and the growing RV market
  • Sports and Events Tourism
  • Interstate Fly/Drive Visitors from NSW and Victoria
  • Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR)
  • Leisure Events
  • Business, Events and Conference Market
  • Long Stay Visitors including seniors and grey nomads
  • Niche markets focusing on natural, cultural, indigenous heritage, agritourism, and mountain biking
  • Nature-based tourism including fishing and walking
  • Educational Travel 

About Southern Queensland Country Tourism:

Southern Queensland Country Tourism (SQCT) is the paramount tourism industry body for the Queensland Country region, amalgamating the regions of Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Southern Downs and Granite Belt, Goondiwindi, Somerset, Western Downs,  Woorabinda, Cherbourg, North Burnett, and now Central Highlands. SQCT is committed to fostering economic and social benefits by driving compelling and sustainable visitor experiences and providing invaluable education to members and the wider community on the multifarious benefits of tourism.

For more information, contact CHDC Visitor Economy Coordinator Roger John on or (07) 4982 4386.

TEQ CEO Patricia O’Callaghan, QCT Chair Geoff McDonald, Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes, QCT CEO Peter Homan, and QTIC CEO Brett Fraser.