Ipswich wins dual tourism gold in state awards
IPSWICH won dual gold medals at the 2014 Queensland Tourism Awards with Ipswich City Council and the Workshops Rail Museum recognised for their outstanding work in the sector.
The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich was named the best heritage and cultural tourism experience in the state.
Ipswich City Council won the visitor information and services award, backing up earlier gold medal wins by the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre in 2011 and 2013.
The museum also won a bronze award in the tourism attractions category.
The Workshops Rail Museum opened in 2002 as part of the Queensland Museum Network and has been offering unique experiences for visitors ever since.
These include multi-media exhibitions, steam train journeys, guided tours of Queensland Rail's heritage railways and a popular major events program.
Museum director Andrew Moritz highlighted how the museum catered to all age groups.
"It's wonderful to be able to provide a great experience for our visitors, whether it's seniors reconnecting with the romance of rail, introducing the love of rail to a new generation through Thomas the Tank Engine, or providing an authentic heritage experience for our school visitors," Mr Moritz said.
Meanwhile, the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre continues to go from strength to strength.
Tourism and Libraries Committee chairman David Pahlke said the award showcased the innovation of the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre, which he insisted was "more than just a building".
"Council has embraced digital platforms to help provide visitor information and services - website, Facebook, e-newsletters and even instagram all under council's leisure tourism brand Discover Ipswich," Cr Pahlke said.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the award was a tribute to the "dedicated team of 30 passionate volunteers who put their heart and soul into promoting Ipswich".
"The centre continues to raise the bar in terms of customer service and knowledge of local attractions," he said. "And the rail museum is world class. That is attracting international visitors.
"Next year we are celebrating 150 years of QR and I have spoken to the minister to make sure Ipswich will take a prime spot because we are the birthplace of rail ... with the first rail line from Ipswich to Grandchester."
Cr Pisasale said tourism contributed $136 million to the Ipswich economy courtesy of visitor spending during 2011 and attracted 1.1 million visitors last year.
"The majority of these visitors were attending events in the area, visiting local attractions or spending time with Ipswich-based family and friends," he said.
The Workshops Rail Museum and Ipswich City Council will now contest the Australian Tourism Awards, to be announced in April next year in Adelaide.