EarthCheck examines Mount Isa's opportunities in outback tourism


The first speaker of the series of business boost sessions hosted by the Mount Isa City Council said there is an increase in younger coastal families seeking to reconnect with the bush. 

Mount Isa was ideally situated between the east coast and the Northern Territory to be able to capitalise on the tourist dollar these young families would bring to the outback, said General Manager of EarthCheck's Consulting team, Mark Olsen. 

"Mount Isa hasn’t been making the most of its story. There’s so much more to Mount Isa than just the mine."- Mark Olsen, EarthCheck 

He described it as “a river of gold” for Mount Isa. However, these younger families had less time on the road than the traditional grey nomads did. 

Mr Olsen spoke at two sessions, set in the morning and evening, on Wednesday at the Mount Isa Civic Centre. He recommended businesses sell their “story”. 

Businesses were aware of their tangible assets; for example; a motel may have beds, and a wi-fi. But Mr Olsen helped attending business representatives find their “intangible” benefit; that story to sell to the traveler. 

“When people are as busy as they are, facts and figures disappear quickly. We have got to remind them what is in it for them,” he said. 

“Mount Isa hasn’t been making the most of its story. There’s so much more to Mount Isa than just the mine,” he said. 

“The fantastic things you have here add to the obvious story of mining...and adds value to it.” 

He recommended businesses prioritise working together to first attract customers to Mount Isa by collaborating their stories with the tourism association, or collaborate with the council. 

These organisations would then package these stories to the Outback Queensland Tourism Association, which from there would eventually reach a targeted international audience. 

Deputy Mayor Phil Barwick said one of the messages he received from Mr Olsen was that Mount Isa could capitalise on the tourism industry by three times the amount it currently receives. 

“If you put a little bit of investment in today it’s almost returned by the next tourism season,” Cr Barwick said.