TOURISM is in focus at the moment with an award for the Ipswich’s Visitor Information Centre and the hotel industry enjoying a boost from the council.
The Visitor Information Centre has taken out a prestigious award at the 38th annual Queensland Tourism Awards in Cairns. This is the sixth time the centre has been awarded in the Visitor Information Services category.
With boosted tourism numbers in the city, the centre’s volunteers are vital to provide a welcome to visitors.
Economic and industry development committee chairperson Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said, “The Visitor Information Centre is one of our hidden gems, the gateway to the tourism experiences and opportunities on offer across the region.
“This win is a nod to the city, its tourism products and services and the staff and volunteers that work rostered shifts 361 days a year.”
The Visitor Information Centre provides information for tourists across the full suite of Discover Ipswich’s satellite sites across the region, and digital channels, including the website, social media and Google.
Visitor Information Centre staff and volunteers also sell local merchandise, produce and souvenirs, take bookings and sell tickets for tourism products, provide travel information for Queensland and Northern NSW, offer tours in partnership with local tourism and hospitality businesses and are active at major events.
Last year saw a 45% boost in visitor nights in the city, which has sparked council action to attract more hotels. The council has taken Brisbane’s lead in encouraging tourist infrastructure, fuelled by the desire to make sure that visitors are not leaking away to the bigger city.
Mayor Teresa Harding said one thing operators had asked for was a single point of contact, which would be provided by a dedicated concierge. On top of this, the council hoped that it could provide quicker responses to development processes. Mayor Harding was clear that this did not mean that applications would be waved through. They would still face the same process but there would be more certainty over the time frames that decisions would be made in.
Councillor Paul Tully said council’s Hotel and Short Term Accommodation Action Plan was a roadmap for greater hotel investment.
“Ipswich currently has five branded and one full-service hotel,” he said.