ELECTION 2016: Tourism key priority for mayoral candidates
INCREASING the Fraser Coast's tourism drawcard is a key priority for the region's mayoral candidates, who have revealed their plans for growth.
A funding review for Fraser Coast Opportunities, the region's peak tourism and economic development body is expected to follow March's Local Government Elections.
Incumbent mayor Gerard O'Connell will push the next council to allocate $500,000 to the Fraser Coast Military Trail, which will link the region's military landmarks.
Do you believe tourism business on the Coast needs focus?
This poll ended on 08 February 2016.
Yes I believe tourism is a key priority for growth on the Coast
No I believe money needs to be spent in other areas, not tourism
I am on the fence
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Cr O'Connell also wants to investigate the feasibility of moving Tiaro's visitor information centre to the northbound side of the Bruce Hwy and upgrading it.
Former Pier Restaurant owner Steve Coleman said more needed to be invested into promoting and marketing our tourism product.
"We've sat on our laurels for too long with Fraser Island and whale-watching, thinking things are automatically going to come our way," he said.
"We've got to fight for our business and for the future."
Fellow mayoral candidate Chris Loft has set an ambitious tourist-number target.
"I've got a goal for Hervey Bay to have one million tourists and for Maryborough to have 200,000," he said.
"It is one of the industries we can do better at - we need to be more boastful about what we've got."
Cr Loft will review the future of Fraser Coast Opportunities in an effort to separate it from political influence.
"The tourism arm I believe needs to be taken up more by the tourism operators - council needs to step back a little," he said.
On Friday night Fraser Coast Opportunities attended the Australian Tourism Awards.
The agency was in contention for the Best Destination Marketing campaign and picked up the Silver Award in the category as part of the Australia's Nature Coast tourism campaign.
Mayoral candidates Jannean Dean and Greg Schmidt did not respond to the Chronicle's request for comment.