Article published on soutburnett.com.au
Image caption: Allen Christensen (ATC Engineers & Project Managers), Cheryl Dalton (South Burnett Care), Felicity Dascombe (Helloworld Travel Kingaroy) and Amanda Kefford (Kingaroy Joinery)
Everyone knows the past few years have been terrible for the travel industry – the pandemic stopped cruising, grounded airlines and closed both international and State borders.
But the 64 local businesspeople who attended Monday night’s Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry meet’n’greet heard a different travel tale … one of expansion and growth.
The KCCI meet’n’greet was hosted by Helloworld Travel in Alford Street, Kingaroy.
Helloworld’s Felicity Dascombe admitted it had been a “crazy two years” but she said the business had been expanding as well.
In fact, the Dascombes now have Helloworld franchises in Gympie, Coolangatta, Dalby and Toowoomba as well as the Kingaroy store and the related Pursers Travel and Cruise in Murgon.
“And next week we will have Banora Point in NSW!” Felicity said.
The meet’n’greet heard there were now 72 staff employed across all parts of the Helloworld business.
The related Pursers Coaches also has 52 buses or coaches and operates 36 school runs.
The two businesses work in well together, with Pursers offering day tours, mystery trips and wine tours – which Felicity said had really become popular during the pandemic.
Felicity is also keen to promote the South Burnett to other parts of the Helloworld network of agencies.
In November, the Dascombes brought down 33 Helloworld owners – who together have about 20,000 customers on their books – to take a look around the South Burnett, visit local attractions and take in the wineries.
Felicity said the Kingaroy store could handle local, interstate and international travel arrangements, including all flight and accommodation bookings, travel insurance, visas and passes.
She noted that while Australia’s international borders were now open, Australians were not yet welcome in some countries overseas because of our high COVID rates – but this situation was changing as more countries opened up.
And she expected cruise ships would be returning to Brisbane soon.
Other highlights from the KCCI meet’n’greet:
- KCCI vice-president Jacqui Trace said there was some big news coming about the SMILE program – the mental health and wellbeing project promoted by the KCCI – which looks set to expand.
- KCCI president Damien Martoo has been elected chair of the policy committee of the Wide Bay Burnett Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland.
- Damien has also been invited to be a guest speaker at an upcoming small business conference in Townsville.
- The KCCI’s “Hub” project – a resource for small businesses in the heart of the Kingaroy CBD – recently received $53,000 worth of funding from the South Burnett Regional Council to fix up the roof space. The expected opening date is still mid-year.
- The “BEST” initiative (Bringing Employers and Students Together) is working with Kingaroy TAFE and the Kingaroy State High School. Renee Feather is the “Link and Launch” co-ordinator at KSHS, with an outreach to Nanango SHS. Students who have finished Year 12 in the past few years (anywhere in Queensland) can reach out to Renee to get help to find a job, apprenticeship or organise further study. BEST aims to help students who have not yet figured out what they want to do, and by linking them to local employers, encourage them to stay in the South Burnett region.
- “Burnett Bands Together” – a free community event featuring six bands across six hours in the Glendon Street Forecourt – will be held on April 9. Former KCCI president Rob Fitz-Herbert urged members to “vote with their feet and come out and the support the music industry”.
- KCCI member Christene Nissen recently helped to organise a truckload of relief aid to assist flood victims in Lismore.
- South Burnett Rugby League president Dave Tierney thanked businesses who are supporting junior sport but asked members to also consider volunteering an hour or just 30 minutes on game days to help the clubs, which were always short of volunteers.
- The meeting congratulated local company AMG Electrical Solutions for winning an $885,000 tender from the South Burnett Regional Council.