NO CROWDS THIS YEAR: Warwick tourism will lose one of its biggest events and economic drivers.
NO CROWDS THIS YEAR: Warwick tourism will lose one of its biggest events and economic drivers.

‘Some business won’t survive’: Tourism heartbreak over rodeo

WARWICK has built its reputation on being the Rose and Rodeo City - but for the first time in 55 years, the latter will fail to ring true.

Following yesterday's shock announcement that the 2020 Warwick Rodeo and Gold Cup Campdraft has been cancelled, the wider tourism community has been frank in its heartbreak, and concerns about the future.

At Rose City Caravan Park, Michelle Cox said it was yet another blow for small business struggling to keep on their feet.

"That's it, our last bastion of hope for the year," Mrs Cox said.

"We've been alright this month, but it's not been the best of years. I think everyone's suffered and for us, it's really disappointing but I feel for the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society, it's tough."

Mrs Cox even feared it would be the last straw for some.

"I think there will be some business that won't survive it, that this will be the thing that tips them over the edge," she said.

"It's really hard. You look forward to seeing new faces, returned faces. We have a gentleman that books with us for that week ever year - he won't coming now."

 

Spectators like Rhys Bond, Jackson Bateman, and Bryce Bateman travel near and far to see the rodeo each year.
Spectators like Rhys Bond, Jackson Bateman, and Bryce Bateman travel near and far to see the rodeo each year.

 

The knock follows on from earlier cancellation of Jumpers and Jazz.

Without the two biggest tourist drivers, the economy was bound to reel, according to McNevin's Warwick Motel owner Debbie Bender.

"It's those events that thrive the economy in Warwick,' she said.

"We've been booked out for rodeo for a while, people usually book a year in advance so it certainly will hurt."

According to rodeo president Gerard O'Leary, the annual October event brought an estimated $5-6 million a year to Warwick.

 

Swanfels rider Lane Grayson at the Warwick Rodeo.
Swanfels rider Lane Grayson at the Warwick Rodeo.

 

While it was sure to have an impact, the announcement was also an expected one for the Glen Rd hotel owner.

"I honestly have to say I wasn't particularly surprised especially since a second wave looks set to hit," Mrs Bender.

"It was the most responsible thing to do. People travel far and wide, and the sooner they let people know the better."

Now awaiting further financial fallout, both Mrs Cox and Mrs Bender urged Queenslanders to continue their support in the 'Good to Go campaign'.

"I want people from Brisbane and South East Queensland to keep up the good work. Visit the west, and remember we all have to make it work to help the economy," Mrs Bender said.

"Jump in your car, caravan and come and stay - that's the best thing I can say right now," Mr Cox said.