SEEN BETTER DAYS: Columboola Country owner Colin Jackson (right) and partner Venessa Russell.
SEEN BETTER DAYS: Columboola Country owner Colin Jackson (right) and partner Venessa Russell. Hayden Smith

Is CSG driving away all of our nomads?

THERE are plenty of people on the roads ... they're just not stopping on the Western Downs.

That's according to Columboola Country owner Colin Jackson, who last week turned to social media in a desperate plea for more visitors.

"This is our busy season … but we are so quiet we are just about broke!" Mr Jackson wrote.

The post went crazy, being shared more than 3000 times and seen by upwards of 200,000 people.

OkTime to beg and plea....I've tried to stay positive throughout the year... BUT, unfortunately, we are desperate for...

Posted by Columboola Country on Monday, June 22, 2015

Mr Jackson, who bought the caravan park and campground 11 years ago, said the resource sector boom had tarnished the region's reputation as a tourist destination - particularly among the crucial grey nomad market.

"It destroyed the tourism side of things because they (workers) filled up all the accommodation," he said.

"I put on Facebook that this whole area needs the grey nomads to come here again, and the response was basically 'you can all get stuffed'.

"They booked their accommodation in advance, pulled up and were told 'sorry, we're full'."

Mr Jackson said just 20 caravans had arrived at Columboola Country in the past year - a stark contrast to 2003.

"When I first bought the place, we averaged three vans every night," he said.

"But you sit on the highway and watch the vans go past. It's not a lack of travellers that's the problem ... it's the lack of stopping them."

He reckons the $1.5 million tourism partnership between Western Downs Regional Council and Origin Energy should help the region's accommodation providers, but said it wasn't much money in the scheme of things.

"If these companies want to do anything, they should spend billions of dollars. How much money are they taking out of here?" he said.

David Hinds, co-owner of Possum Park north of Miles, said his business had maintained a loyal customer base throughout the CSG boom, but agreed there had been a "backlash against mining towns from travellers".

"Word seemed to get around that CSG workers had taken over the accommodation.

"They (tourists) might start to come back now though," he said.

MET photography were out here last weekend and took a few shots around the place.These look great.Hope to inspire some painters, sketch artists, or photographers to come and spend a weekend out here

Posted by Columboola Country on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mr Jackson said he was stunned by the reaction to his June 23 Facebook post.

"We've had a few people stop by because of what I posted," he said.



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