|Guest Relations Manager Fran Edney with the Manager of the Ipswich International Hotel Alex Vankersen Seriously tapping into the Asian Visitor Market.|
THE tourism potential of Ipswich is highlighted in annual visitor statistics prepared for the city.Ipswich City Council Tourism and Libraries Committee Chairperson Councillor David Pahlke said many people underestimated the tourism market in the region and this annual report highlighted the significance of the industry to the city.Cr Pahlke said the report was prepared for the City of Ipswich by Tourism Research Australia for the 2010 calendar year before January floods occurred. “This report reveals that the number of day visitors to Ipswich increased by 24% from 688,000 visitors per annum to 855,000 visitors per annum. “This represents a 19% increase in the average spend per trip with a total tourism spend for this market segment increasing by 48% from $46 million to $68 million.
Tourism spend is the total spent in the local economy including tourism businesses and the broader business community such as supermarkets, retail outlets, newsagents, service stations and medical services. Cr Pahlke said Tourism Research Australia released visitor/tourism statistics for more than 500 Local Government Areas (LGA) throughout Australia in March 2008. “These statistics were the first ever released that provided statistical information for individual LGAs as opposed to regularly produced regional information.” The LGA statistics were based on a three to four year average to June 2007.
Cr Pahlke said council had last year commissioned Tourism Research Australia to produce updated statistics for Ipswich.He said the statistics revealed that people visiting friends and family in Ipswich continue to make up most of the tourism market. “The Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) category makes up 44% of the total visitors and remains the main purpose for visiting the City of Ipswich. “This group accounts for 75% of the total number of visitor nights recorded by the survey.”
Cr Pahlke said commercial accommodation – hotels, resorts, motel or motor inns – accounted for only 7% of visitor nights but there has been a 63% increase in the use of commercial accommodation since 2008. “A contributing factor could be the opening of two extra properties – Oaks Aspire and Quest Ipswich – since 2008. Cr Pahlke said the number of international visitors to Ipswich had increased by 45% compared with 4% for both Brisbane and Queensland. “International visitors spent 55% more while visiting Ipswich last year than they did in 2008.”
Cr Pahlke said this type of research provided council with consistent information as a basis for future tourism strategies. “By commissioning these statistics annually council can analyse what is happening in different areas of Ipswich’s tourism market. “This allows us to ensure that the programs, activities and initiatives we are working on support the Ipswich tourism market and will continue to help it to grow and further develop for the future.”