'Big blow to Ipswich tourism': Hotel plan raises concerns
A TOURISM operator fears it could be another decade before an accommodation provider replaces Metro Hotel Ipswich, which could turn into an aged care facility.
Metro Hotels is in negotiations to sell its Ipswich CBD property while Oracle Care has lodged a development application to change the use of the site into an aged-care facility.
Floating Images hot air balloons' managing director Graeme Day has been using the Metro Hotel Ipswich for about four years.
He said the availability of a kitchen in the early morning and premier accommodation "caters to all my customers' needs".
Mr Day said his business had a "strong partnership" with Metro Hotels but was concerned about the potential of it closing.
"It's a big blow to Ipswich's tourism industry," he said.
"There's no other accommodation that's available to the same standard in the CBD
"If that closes, how is it going to affect investment in the city?"
Mr Day was advised Floating Images' customers could use the cafe until June 30.
"After that, it's all up in the air," he said.
The hotel's ground-floor cafe, bar and restaurant, wellness centre, beauty salon and function areas will be maintained for use by both residents and the public.
The tourism operator said the business was steady.
"We've been going okay. We always like good marketing of this city," he said.
Ipswich businessman Andrew Spark described the material change of use as a "short-sighted" application.
"I think it will be a real shame to lose hotel accommodation in the city," he said.
"I think it would put a big dint certainly in the tourism industry, we're trying to attract more people here."
"The population is getting older so we need to look at residential aged care facilities," he said.
"But losing a hotel is robbing Peter to pay Paul."