ROCKING: 8 Ball Aitken pictured at the Agnes Water Blues, Roots and Rock Festival.
ROCKING: 8 Ball Aitken pictured at the Agnes Water Blues, Roots and Rock Festival. Wezzy Cruze

Council's plan to become an events destination

A FIVE-year strategy has outlined ways Gladstone could become an events destination, in a bid to help the region be known as more than an "industrial town”.

The Gladstone Regional Events Strategy 2019-2024 was tabled in Gladstone Regional Council last week, after six months of consultation and research with event operators in Gladstone.

The report identifies ways the council can better support event organisers, and the region's key signature events, including Boyne Tannum HookUp, Gladstone Harbour Festival and Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race, that could "redefine our regional identity”.

With the hope of helping to create long-term economic stability, the report's vision is to make Gladstone "famous” for events that celebrate the region. Through supporting events, the council hopes to increase visitation and length of stay in Gladstone, to build on the estimated annual tourism value of $308 million to the region.

It said by providing more support for popular events, it could provide a boost to the city's civic pride.

A visitor Economy Snapshot found the average amount spent by a domestic day tripper was $94.50 and an overnight visitor $127.50.

"To reflect and celebrate its unique juxtaposition of the contrast of industry and pristine environment in an increasingly competitive event market, the Gladstone Region will need to further differentiate its events to create and reflect its unique locations and culture,” it said.

"By embracing its boom and bust industrial history, the significance of its stunning pristine natural environment and coastal Queensland lifestyle, the region is in a pivotal position to shape its destination image by growing existing and attracting new destination and signature events.”

Boyne Tannum HookUp president Jennifer Mcguire, who was part of the consultation process, said the council was on the right track by embracing the nautical theme.

"You can have a food and wine festival anywhere, you can have a music festival anywhere, what's unique about the Gladstone region is all our water,” Ms Mcguire said.

She said the Gladstone Harbour Festival was another event which helped celebrate the region's natural environment.

She said she had no doubt Gladstone could become an events destination.

"We have a very engaged community, we're very lucky we live in a beautiful part of Australia, and having come off the construction boom, people are looking to build something new,” she said.

"They're looking to build a new tourism sector and the best way is on events.”

According to the report the estimated most popular time of year was April with 57,000 event attendees, followed by November, August and December with 26,500, 24,000 and 23,000 respectively.

The report identified primary markets for potential growth as visitors within driving distance from Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Emerald and the Sunshine Coast or people who could fly to the region from Brisbane.

Currently, holidays account for the reason 39 per cent of visitors come to the region, business 29 per cent, and visiting friends and relatives 27 per cent.

Events at a glance

  • 200 festivals and events per year
  • 197k attendance of events
  • 11 Gladstone Regional Council supported events
  • $7.6m economic value
  • 87,2467 Visitors
  • Unique Events: Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race and nautical themed celebrations, Australia's largest family friendly fishing competition, emerging grass-roots style arts and music festivals.
  • Peak Seasons: April/Easter, August, November, December