‘Monto is thriving’: Tourism booming in country town
AN ENORMOUS influx of grey nomad tourists has been a welcome site for the dairy town of Monto, after years of drought and economic hardship.
The floodgates have opened following the decline in coronavirus in Queensland, with hundreds of interstate travellers descending on regional Queensland.
Armed with their brand new caravans and cavalier attitudes, these Australia retirees are pumping valuable money into the North Burnett economy.
Monto's RV stop at the bottom of Newton St has been a thriving hub of recreational vehicles, and a welcome site according to Cr Melinda Jones.
"It's been amazing to have the instant increase in the economy through tourism with the grey nomads coming," she said.
"It's exceeded our expectations."
Cr Jones said they've marvelled at the figures they're experiencing now compared to 12 months ago, saying numbers have doubled.
"Last year we'd average 12 caravans a night, and in that 12 month period since then the numbers have just blown out," Cr Jones said.
"Local businesses are loving the injection that's come into the main street.
"Some days you're flat out getting a park."
Last year saw several shops in Monto's CBD close their doors, with the townsfolk concerned their it would become a ghost town.
In the past two months the town has now seen the completion of several murals which are part of a tourism art trail bringing the town back to life.
Monto's Rural Aid makeover is also on the cards in the coming months, after their visit was impacted by coronavirus earlier this year.
With these projects on the horizon, Cr Jones believed the town was now walking with a new-found sense of confidence and pride.
"It's great to see people wandering up and down the street, cameras in hand taking photos of the new murals, going into coffee shops, pubs, and shopping," she said.
"I had someone bragging about the clothing they're able to get in this town.
"They were blown away by the range, and how cheap everything was.
"Monto is thriving."
The art trail, according to Cr Jones, has been in the pipeline for two years, and was meant to be rolled out over a five-year period.
These projects have now been crammed within a six-month period, with the art trail and Rural Aid revitalising the town.
"It's injected a vibrancy and spirit within our town that we haven't had for a long time," Cr Jones said.