Why tourism in Ipswich is booming
THE FRONT foot.
No matter what game you are playing it is vital to be on it and when it comes to Ipswich tourism figures the council, along with business and community groups, are leading a resurgence in the city.
Domestic overnight holiday visitors to Ipswich increased by 42 per cent last year.
Tourism Research Australia statistics revealed 139,000 domestic overnight holiday visitors discovered Ipswich during 2016, bringing $82 million to the local economy.
There were 547,000 total domestic overnight visitors to the city for the 12 months to December.
Captain Mike Jarvis from Pterodactyl Helicopters said the last 12 to 18 months he had noted a huge rise in patrons going for a tour of the region with him.
"Our cut-through in tourism in the past 12 months has been phenomenal," he said.
"The work that has been done by the development and tourism group in the council has been a huge benefit to that.
"With Pterodactyl, we have just had our best month ever. The growth has become exponential. We are 32% up from last year, and we are getting cut-through from international and interstate visitors as well, so a lot more people from outside our traditional region.
"Because Ipswich is central to the entire south-east it makes it easier for us to get around to all the other neighbouring tourism regions.
"We are ideally situated among where all the action is. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Ten years ago, who would have thought of a helicopter company in Ipswich? But now look at us."
Mayor Paul Pisasale said the CMC Rocks music festival, the V8s, Winter Nationals, Ipswich Festival, Ipswich Show, Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich Nature Centre, Robelle Domain and Ipswich Art Gallery were among the drawcards in both an event and facility respect.
"When you put world class facilities in and events on, they attract people," he said.
"Everybody is playing their role.
"What I have been committed to change is the fact that Ipswich is an ideal tourism destination.
"That revolves around our heritage and culture and all our drawcards."
The Ipswich Turf Club's partnership with the council has also been hailed by general manager Brett Kitching with June's Ipswich Cup, drawing over 20,000 people, an example.
"With the Ipswich Cup, they are coming from all states of Australia and even New Zealand," he said.
"The Ipswich City Council supports us financially and last year for the 150th year there was a range of marketing support.
"I would say the council has been a bigger supporter of racing through financial and non-financial means than any other in Queensland."
Cr Pisasale said the art gallery saw a record 44,708 people coming for Construction Site and TapeScape exhibitions.
"I'm confident we will see similar results for Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks," he said.
"The Workshops is currently featuring A Room for Wild Animals, a showcase of 20 taxidermy specimens from the Queensland Museum collection including big cats, bears and deer.
"Ipswich Nature Centre welcomed 121,439 visitors in 2016 and the recent arrival of three baby bilbies brings even more excitement to the Queens Park precinct."
Cr Pisasale said record numbers of people were visiting the Discover Ipswich website and social media platforms.
"For the first time we have distributed the Discover Ipswich magazine to Ipswich households and tourism operators and visitor information centres in Queensland and northern New South Wales.
"Our tourism message is literally up in the air - if you look skyward you might catch a glimpse of the new Discover Ipswich balloon which officially took flight before Easter."
Mr Kitching said partnerships with local institutions and groups such as the CFMEU mining and energy division for yesterday's Labour Day races, which attracted a record 4500 people, were making a positive impact in Ipswich.
"We have partnered with the CFMEU today and we are partnering with St Edmund's College and the Ipswich Hospital Foundation on Saturday for the 'Legs and Eddies Day' on Saturday," he said.
"On Saturday we have foot racing and they come from all over south-east Queensland for that.
"Both of those (meetings) have been going for a decade and it is great that we have these groups around the community that are combining to promote Ipswich and tourism."