The Ipswich Nature Centre is worth almost $3 million a year to the Ipswich economy and has a near 100 per cent approval rating from visitors.
Council’s Queens Park attraction is a huge favourite, with more than 140,000 people visiting the nature centre in 2019.
Nearly 1500 people were surveyed recently about their spending habits when visiting the Ipswich Nature Centre, revealing that the asset is worth $2.8 million to the local economy.
The three-month study by Earth Check and Lucid Economics was commissioned by the Ipswich City Council and conducted both online and in-person, with 99 per cent recommending a visit to the nature centre.
General Manager of Community, Culture and Economic Development Ben Pole said the current benefit to the local community and businesses was not recognised previously and this study captured that information.
“The study helps identify the nature centre’s regional significance, one our community, residents and businesses can all be proud of and benefit from,” Mr Pole said.
It is estimated that 140,522 people visited the nature centre in 2019 – 55 per cent of visitors were local with 45 per cent coming from outside of Ipswich.
The survey showed the nature centre delivered educational and social benefits with a follow-on spend into businesses within the city.
General Manager of Infrastructure and Environment Charlie Dill said council will now use the study findings to develop a long-term strategy and plan for the nature centre.
He said it will be up to the city’s new mayor and councillors, once elected on March 28, to review this community asset before council can seek funding assistance for future development.
The survey results:
- 1482 responses to the survey, 1132 online respondents and 350 in-person surveys completed at the nature centre.
- 99 per cent of visitors would recommend the nature centre as a place to visit.
- 48 per cent of visitors travelled to the nature centre with their children
- 71 per cent said it was a great place to visit with friends and relatives
- 80 per cent saw it as an opportunity to view wildlife
- 75 per cent would likely pay for additional experiences like wine and wildlife evenings, overnight camps, night tours, educational activities for kids
- Locals spent $6.47 per person within the Queens Park precinct while visitors spent about $45.50 per person on food and beverage and/or shopping in Ipswich before or after their visit to the nature centre.
Most respondents wanted to see:
- The entry to the park kept free of charge
- Upgrades to the animal enclosures as some are small
- More interactive activities for the kids
- Larger variety of animals with child-friendly signage
- Wet area for the kids and updated equipment
- More awareness of the nature centre