The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers tonight shone brightly as the best national major festival or event at the 2016 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Darwin.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the national accolade marked the latest award in a stellar run of industry success for Australia’s longest running horticultural event.
“The Carnival remains the Toowoomba Region’s major tourist drawcard and Council is proud to share this peak award in conjunction with our foundation sponsors, all other supporters, our magnificent home gardeners and all volunteers who bring the city and region alive each spring,” Mayor Antonio said.
“The Carnival is one of our richest traditions. While it has a long and proud history, today’s organisers continue to renew the 10-day festival to offer attractions for residents and visitors of all ages.
“Carnival’s core is the celebration of the region’s renowned natural beauty, the magnificent home and civic gardens and the artistic creativity of our residents.
“Our world renowned floral displays remain a popular centrepiece for visitors but the festival has expanded to become a vibrant showcase of the region’s wine, food and creative industries.
“Promotion of our region’s unique attributes is a major attraction for interstate tourists and a growing band of foreign visitors. Council continues to work with tour package agents to attract more New Zealanders to our region, particularly at Carnival of Flowers time.
“Council’s Tourism and Events Strategy highlights New Zealand as a key growth market for international visitors and we will continue to explore the possibility to attract other international visitors.
“The Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport has given our region greater connectivity to more centres in Australia with the added benefit of linking to international flights.”
TRC Tourism and Events portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald accepted the award for the 2015 Carnival in Darwin before praising the hard work of organisers and community volunteers.
“Our 2015 Carnival of Flowers generated more than $25.7 million for the regional economy (an increase of 14% compared with 2014) and was elevated to major event status by Tourism & Events Queensland.
“The hard work was well and truly rewarded with a 15% rise in visitor numbers to 196,000 compared with the 2014 Carnival.
“Success breeds success and we are delighted to continue our run of recent awards which include winning the major festivals and events category at last year’s Queensland Tourism Awards.
“This followed winning gold at the 2015 Queensland Tourism Award for major events, winning the 2015 Parks and Leisure Australia – Australian Award for Events and being named a finalist at the 2015 Australian Tourism Awards for Festivals and Events.
“Carnival’s volunteers represent 300 community groups. They provide a friendly and personal greeting for visitors, act as tour guides in our parks and on visiting coaches.
“The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is the one event in Australia where residents open their private home gardens en masse for viewing.
“The festival’s famous Grand Central Floral Parade is the largest street parade in Queensland and has maintained its popular appeal.
“Plans are well advanced for our 2017 Carnival and I know there will be plenty to admire and enjoy from September 15-24.”