READY FOR THE CARNIVAL: New Zealand visitors Alison Read (left) and Sherry Bishop take in Lake Annand during a lunch stop on the first day of their week-long Carnival of Flowers tour.
READY FOR THE CARNIVAL: New Zealand visitors Alison Read (left) and Sherry Bishop take in Lake Annand during a lunch stop on the first day of their week-long Carnival of Flowers tour. Kevin Farmer

Record numbers predicted for 70th Carnival of Flowers

RECORD numbers of visitors are expected at the 70th Carnival of Flowers as its international reach strengthens.

Toowoomba Regional Council Environment and Community Committee chair Councillor Geoff McDonald said it was likely the event would exceed last year's visitor numbers.

"Last year we had 255,000 visitors over the 10 days, and the year before that we had 200,000. That was considered breaking the glass ceiling, to get 200,000 visitors," Cr McDonald said,

"The tickets sales, the interest from coach companies and the enormous work that the 77 events have done with promotion - all of that will lead to record numbers.

"The growth in the economic impact over the years, up to $26 million last year, will continue this year and it comes at a time when many businesses are struggling."

Cr McDonald said the event had been "catapulted" both nationally and internationally by its third consecutive win at the Australian Tourism Awards earlier this year.

"When you win a national award for three years in a row, it captures the imagination of national and international tour leaders and guides," he said.

"We are seeing strong growth in the numbers of international visitors."

Taking an early look at the gardens yesterday, New Zealanders Sherry Bishop and Alison Read were proof of the carnival's burgeoning international appeal.

"We saw an advertisement in the paper where we live, in Nelson, (about the carnival)," Ms Bishop said.

"We're excited to see all the lovely gardens we've heard about."

Southern Queensland Country Tourism chief executive officer Peter Homan said some visitors would travel from further afield.

"We've got a lot of people from overseas coming to do famils, some from the media, some content producers," Mr Homan said.

"This will be the Korean market coming this year. They have been here before, but not in such great numbers.

"What we're feeling and what we're hearing is that it will be a great event."



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