WITH 46 per cent of tourism expenditure in Australia spent in regional areas, now is the time for rural communities to cash in on the importance of this industry.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Thallon, the little town with a big dream.
Over the past three years the community of Thallon has been rallying together to increase tourism for its region.
As a result, this town can now lay claim to the first working silos in Australia to be painted, a giant wombat statue paying tribute to the northern hairy-nosed wombat, and a number of impressive murals in town.
Thallon Progress Association's Leanne Brosnan said the tourism initiatives were driven in large part by the community.
"The community is thrilled with the results that are starting to show,” she said.
"A lot more caravaners are stopping in town and staying longer.”
Mrs Brosnan said the progress association had produced merchandise for the silos which were also proving popular among tourists.
"We've got plenty more happening, so watch this space,” she said.
Balonne councillor and portfolio chair for tourism Robyn Fuhrmeister said the initiatives weren't just about the dollars, but also showcased the community spirit.
"For Thallon, this is a lift up after suffering the drought and the isolation of people not driving through there,” she said.
"Thallon is not only an important part of the shire, it's also a major entrance into the shire, so their tourism initiatives are helping to capture more people and increase visitation to the Balonne region.”
Cr Fuhrmeister said all power was due to the community and Thallon Progress Assocation for their efforts.
"This is a golden opportunity for all the small towns throughout the region to showcase their community,” Cr Fuhrmeister said.
"Pick an icon to showcase that you think would be a success story right across the shire.”
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