Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers celebrates a rosy 70th Year

2019 was a bloomin’ remarkable year for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers (TCOF) with just-released data proving that Australia’s love for the annual festival of all things floral, food and fun has not faded in its 70th year, in fact, it’s flourishing.

A massive 294,594 people attended the 10-day festival, up 16% on 2018, with total spend also up 16% reaching $41.05 million, and event-related overnight stays up 15% to 128,417; representing significant growth for the event, and extraordinary value for the region and the state.

Further figures indicate that the number one attraction for visitors at this year’s TCOF was the public park feature floral displays, with Laurel Bank Park recording over 79,000 attendees and Botanic Garden attracting over 106,000 visitors over the 10 days. The iconic Grand Central Floral Parade was watched by over 90,000 people.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said the 70th anniversary event was the biggest Carnival to date.

“The 2019 anniversary program featured 77 events and activations – which meant that 453 days of events were compacted into the 10-day program. It was a huge effort by all involved,” he said.

The figures cap off an exceptional year for Queensland’s beloved TCOF.

In March this year, after three consecutive gold wins at the Australian Tourism Awards, TCOF was inducted into the Australia Tourism Hall of Fame – a particularly significant achievement for an inland and regional event.

Then, just last month, TCOF took out the Richard Power Award for Destination Marketing at the 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards. This was the first time TCOF had entered this category, which recognises creativity and innovation in a fully integrated destination marketing campaign designed to attract visitors to a region or destination.

“We are so incredibly proud of this event. It’s one that has absolutely put Toowoomba on the map, but it’s also an event that champions the power of local communities coming together and celebrating,” Mayor Antonio said.

“The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is synonymous with the Toowoomba Region, with locals embracing what is the biggest tourism-based attraction in the country, welcoming thousands of new and returning visitors every year.

“From modern country hospitality exploding with thousands of spring blooms to abundant local produce, the tastiest Queensland-produced wines and public parklands overflowing with natural beauty and international quality entertainment programs, for 10 days in September, Toowoomba bursts with world-class tourism experiences delivered in a world-class way.Bravo to everyone involved and bring on 2020.”

TCOF 2019 by numbers:

  • 77 events and activations over 10 days
  • Attendance up 16% to 294,594 on 2018 figures
  • Event-related night stays up 15% to 128,417
  • Total spending impact of the event up 16% to $41.05m
  • 201 groups and tours registered and attended throughout the 10 days this year – up from 174 last year. Average stay is three nights
  • 79,985 attendees at Laurel Bank Park
  • 106,854 visitors to Botanic Garden floral displays
  • 90,000+ people lined the streets to watch the Grand Central Floral Parade
  • 28,117 people attended the Heritage Bank Festival of Food and Wine
  • More than 80 floats and 1700 people participated in the 70th Grand Central Floral Parade and drought conditions didn’t deter the competitive streak in Toowoomba’s gardeners with more than 120 outstanding entries into the 70th Chronicle Garden Competition
  • The number of coach groups attending during the 10 days increased by 15% with Cobb+Co Museum welcoming a record number of coach groups
  • The community unearthed some hidden gems for the 70th Anniversary Memorabilia display including priceless crowns and robes worn by former Carnival Queens
  • Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery hosted bus groups for the first time to showcase the Ikebana displays and specially curated ‘Nature Observed’ exhibition.

The 2020 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will be held from September 18 to 27

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers – A History

Since its inception in 1949, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has flourished and is now an iconic Queensland event. The brainchild of Essex Tait and the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce, Carnival was introduced as a way for the city to use its “Garden City” reputation to promote increased economic activity following the hardships of war. On October 21, 1950 the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers commenced with a street procession that stretched three miles in length. Led by a bullock team and watched by a crowd estimated to be 50,000 strong, it was a resounding success.

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