Ipswich, the new rising star of tourism in Queensland

Source: Ipswich First

 

The city where heritage meets adventure right in Brisbane’s backyard continues to surge ahead boosted by the tourism sector with new figures showing 1.6 million visitors visited the region in 2018, an increase of 178,000 visitors on the previous year.

And Ipswich’s 35% growth in domestic overnight tourism was the fastest of any region in South East Queensland.

It’s all thanks to premier events, sporting festivals and our vibrant food scene boosting the numbers along with a targeted marketing ‘Humans Wanted’ campaign to boost awareness of what the region has to offer, only 30 minutes from the state’s capital.

The ‘Humans Wanted’ campaign saw Ipswich City Council collaborating with Google to add over 2400kms of Ipswich’s nature, adventure and urban trails to Google Maps the #1 website in Australia, with the completion of the Google Trekker project showcasing the best of Ipswich’s tourism destinations. See the live locations here: https://www.google.com/streetview/gallery/#city-of-ipswich/mount-blaine

“Tourism in Ipswich is also surging ahead boosted by new visitors seeking adventure, nature based activities and events in the region,” CEO David Farmer said.

“We have the highest mountain peak in the greater Brisbane region, Flinders Peak, and also the most extensive mountain biking trail network on mainland Australia at Hidden Vale Adventure Park,” he said.

Mr Farmer said these and other hiking and biking infrastructure across the region, coupled with Ipswich’s heritage story, emerging coffee, bar and restaurant scene, were great drawcards for day trippers from the SEQ region.

“Upgraded sporting infrastructure allowed us to secure national sporting carnivals such as the 2019 National BMX Championships,” he said.

Tourism Research Australia data shows visitation to Ipswich across three areas – domestic overnight, domestic day trips and international overnight arrivals had all increased in 2018 compared to 2017.

Domestic overnight stays were up 34.6 per cent, while day trips were up 5.9 per cent and international visitors increased 45.1 per cent.

Key cultural events that call Ipswich home, including CMC Rocks Qld – the largest international country and roots festival in the southern hemisphere – are bringing more people to Ipswich than ever before. Over 21,000 tickets for this festival were sold out in under two hours.

The Tourism branch of council has worked with multiple tourism operators over the past two years to increase customer service levels and be recognised as a Best of Queensland experience. This year 22 businesses were recognised as a Best of Queensland experience which was an amazing achievement.

Woodlands of Marburg, just 45 minutes west of Brisbane is one of those operators recently named a best of Queensland experience.

“This is fantastic news for Woodlands and also a great step forward for the ever expanding Ipswich region,” Woodlands director Michael Rowan said.

“We have been working diligently towards creating a quality product that is world class, and are very happy to have been recognised as a quality best of Queensland destination. Accommodation numbers have begun to increase and we look forward to providing our unique, customer focused experience to more and more people in the near future.”

Another best of Queensland Experience, Ipswich’s only heritage steam train operators the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway, offers dinner trains that are booked out for months in advance.

“Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway has had a proud tradition for 40 years offering passengers a unique slice of Queensland’s past. We are immensely proud and humbled to have been recognised as a Best of Queensland experience.

“From our latest introduction, the Queensland Pioneer Dinner Train through to our classic Picnic Trains from Bundamba Racecourse to Swanbank, we are seeing ever increasing numbers and a revival of the love of steam locomotion, a trend we hope will continue for generations to come,” QPSR Chairman Robert Shearer said.

Ipswich’s new premium motocross destination Willowbank MX is continuing to be a huge success. In its first year of operation, it is estimated to have brought over 30,000 tourists to the region. Now in its second year of operation Willowbank MX has seen a huge spike in interstate visitor numbers.

“This quarter over 30% of our visitors are from outside the SEQ region. After a three month marketing campaign with the help of Ipswich City Council, we have seen some great results for not only our business, but for the region,” Willowbank MX marketing manager Ineke McMahon said.

“We have recently been ranked as a Best of Queensland Experience, mostly based on our high reviews on social media, google and other platforms.”

The 22 Ipswich tourism operators that were recently recognised as a 2019 Best of Queensland Experience by Tourism and Events Queensland:

  • Best Western Ipswich
  • Brothers Leagues Club Ipswich
  • Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights
  • Fourthchild Cafe Restaurant and Lounge Bar
  • Ghost Tours
  • Homage
  • Incinerator Theatre
  • Indian Tadka
  • Ipswich Art Gallery
  • Ipswich Civic Centre
  • Ipswich Nature Centre
  • Pterodactyl Helicopters
  • Pumpyard Bar and Brewery
  • Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway
  • Quest Ipswich
  • Seraphim Escape Rooms
  • Spicers Hidden Vale
  • Springfield Lakes Hotel
  • The Workshops Rail Museum
  • V8 Race Experience
  • Willowbank MX
  • Woodlands of Marburg

A full list of Best of Queensland operators can be found here https://cdn2-teq.queensland.com/~/media/84bd48b0d34f4dfd97330281b2c70b4f.ashx?vs=1&d=20190405T161303

Ipswich boasts 6500 hectares of reserves and conservation estates, 196km of biking trails and more than 7000 heritage-listed sites in the city.

For more to see and do, see discoveripswich.com.au