Agritourism is no hard sell for Roma
The Roma Saleyards is the largest cattle selling centre in Australia and prior to 2014, visitors would come to the yards for a look – and leave in awe of the scale of the operations at the facility, however, quite often they were leaving without the full picture.
In October 2014, Council collaborated with retired local graziers to initiate tours of the Roma Saleyards. Geoff Thompson and Jim Scott were the first to volunteer, and they were joined by James Stinson Snr and Peter Nichol a year later.
Thanks to the expertise of these men, who have all lived and breathed the cattle industry their entire lives, up to 175 visitors at any one time can wander through the saleyards and leave with an appreciation of the cattle industry.
The tours happen every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30AM (April – October, inclusive) and Tuesdays only from November until March, inclusive.
Stories of these wonderful tours have got out, and the volunteers’ efforts have not gone unrecognised – with the group recently taking out the Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer Group Award at the Outback Queensland Tourism Awards in 2016. This is a fantastic achievement.
In the last six months, more than three thousand people enjoyed a tour of the Roma Saleyards, providing an impressive injection into the local economy.
Because of the growing popularity of these tours, visitors will make sure they’re in town the Monday or Wednesday nights to not miss the start of the tour on the following day. During the peak of the tourism season, the local economy thrives from the longer visits. Off-peak, the Roma Saleyards still brings people from far and wide – because of the early morning tours and seasonally friendly facility.
Not only do the saleyard tours help to drive the local economy, they play a significant role in educating visitors about the importance of the agricultural industry to the Maranoa and beyond. Thanks to their vast knowledge, the tour leaders can give an honest overview of the industry.
The leaders especially take the time to get to know their tour attendees, providing a personalised tour. For the leaders, it’s the variety of weekly visitors that makes these mornings so interesting, with a lot of local and international people, from all walks of life, taking the tours.
Thanks to the tireless effort that the volunteer tour leaders go to in spreading the word about the saleyards, they have cemented the town’s identity nationally and internationally. When you think of Roma, you think of Australia’s largest cattle selling centre – the Roma Saleyards.
For more information please contact the Roma Visitor Information Centre on 07 4622 8676 or visit www.mymaranoa.org.au/visitors.