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Tourism bouncing back in Ipswich

For the first time since COVID-19 lockdowns began, the Ipswich tourism industry is showing signs of strong recovery as restrictions ease and visitors return.

The June 2021 report from Tourism Research Australia shows Ipswich being one of only three regions in Queensland seeing positive year on year growth.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the resilience of Ipswich tourism operators were the secret to the city’s success.

“In March 2021 we were down 17 per cent in visitors and by the end of June we had risen 15 per cent, an outstanding 32-point turnaround,” Mayor Harding said.

“This a fantastic result for Ipswich tourism operators who adapted their tourism offerings to ensure their products and experiences were COVIDsafe.

“We also saw a return of major events such as the Winternationals 2021 and Ipswich Cup, which has helped lift our recovery.

“Ipswich welcomed 1,778,000 visitors from June 2020 until June 2021, a fantastic result given the uncertainty the pandemic has brought.”

During the same period council’s Discover Ipswich website attracted 1.7 million visitors and generated 142,908 leads, a 46 per cent increase from the year prior.

Ipswich offered premier events such as Winternationals 2021 which resulted in 27,621 ticket holders flooding into Ipswich and supporting overnight stays, boosting the accommodation sector.

Daytrip visitors, for the first time, made up 84 per cent of total visitors attributable to demand driving programs and events.

We also saw a return of major events such as the Ipswich Cup and the inaugural Planes, Trains and Autos and Spark festivals which has helped lift our recovery.

Economic and Industry Development Committee Chair and Deputy Mayor Nicole Jonic said council’s City of Ipswich Destination Management Plan 2019 – 2023 set out a clear set of action items to assist growing the visitor economy and in doing so creates employment in the city.

“Daytrip visitors are the most common arrivals to Ipswich, and this year nine local businesses secured $50,000 in funding between them though Ipswich City Council’s Exceptional Experiences Program with businesses investing an additional $170,223,” Cr Jonic said.

“This program responded to what the operators were telling us they needed to pivot through the COVID-19 impacts.

“These growing visitor numbers are in part thanks to the collaborative effort by Ipswich tourism operators adjusting to offer COVID-19 safe experiences, major events coming back and council’s destination marketing program targeting the South East Queensland drive market.

“While there is reason to be positive, the hospitality and accommodation sectors are still the hardest hit in the sector with short, sharp lockdowns still affecting business.

“We still want to encourage the community, if you are going to eat out, visit your local hospitality venue and let’s help them get back on their feet.”

Council’s Ipswich Tourism Operators Network links business operators in the attractions, events, hospitality, shopping and accommodation sectors looking to grow their business and support employment in collaboration with council. Learn More: https://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/explore/tourism

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