Won­der­land hits $1m

The Chronicle - - Your Say - BAR­BARA McGOVERN, Toowoomba

ON BE­HALF of the mem­bers of the Lions Club of Toowoomba West and the com­mit­tee of Toowoomba’s Christ­mas Won­der­land, may we use your pa­per to pass on our sin­cere appreciation to the peo­ple of Toowoomba and sur­round­ing re­gions for their gen­eros­ity and sup­port of our 2018 event.

With­out such sup­port and gen­eros­ity, the event would not have been a huge suc­cess once again.

Lead­ing up to the 2018 event, a to­tal of $956,000 had been con­trib­uted to the com­mu­nity from Toowoomba’s Christ­mas Won­der­land and we are pleased to ad­vise that dur­ing this year’s event, we have reached a milestone of more than $1 mil­lion in do­na­tions.

Funds for this year’s event will be distributed to our ben­e­fi­cia­ries, mainly Life­line Dar­ling Downs and SW Queens­land, the Toowoomba Hos­pice and the Toowoomba Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion and other smaller or­gan­i­sa­tions, who have been very ap­pre­cia­tive of the dis­tri­bu­tions with funds as­sist­ing them with their on­go­ing needs.

This event has be­come a reg­u­lar fea­ture on ev­ery­one’s cal­en­dar with a com­mon theme of “see you at the lights” heard around town prior to and dur­ing the event. We must also ac­knowl­edge the co­op­er­a­tion of Toowoomba Re­gional Coun­cil for its con­tin­u­ing sup­port and es­pe­cially the parks and gar­den staff mem­bers who en­sure that the Botan­i­cal Gar­dens area is al­ways spic and span for our vis­i­tors each night.

To our spon­sors, a spe­cial thank you to you all for your con­tin­u­ing sup­port of this event through goods in kind and cash do­na­tions. Your sup­port has al­lowed our club to con­tinue to host the event and pro­vide the pub­lic with a fam­ily-ori­ented ac­tiv­ity that brings smiles and joy to ev­ery­body that vis­its.

Vis­i­tors in 2018 were more than 78,500 with one night lost to wet weather and four other nights weather af­fected. Dur­ing the past three nights of the event this year, vis­i­tor num­bers were more than 26,000 alone – just amaz­ing.

De­spite the loss of one night to the weather, the event has ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions, and to you all “thank you” for your sup­port and gen­eros­ity – through your vis­its, funds raised will go di­rectly to our ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Our en­ter­tain­ers, who give freely of their time to per­form for our vis­i­tors, also de­serve our ac­co­lades – with­out their sup­port we could not pro­vide the pub­lic with this ac­tiv­ity. To­tal num­ber of en­ter­tain­ers this year were 1771 com­bin­ing stage en­ter­tain­ers, rov­ing en­ter­tain­ers, dance groups and costumed char­ac­ters.

A spe­cial thank you also to our vol­un­teers – we re­quire about 40 peo­ple to help with run­ning the event each night and with­out peo­ple giv­ing us freely of their time the event could just not hap­pen. Over the event to­tal num­bers of vol­un­teers were 1416, each work­ing an av­er­age of 3.5 hours, with vol­un­teers sourced from 55 dif­fer­ent groups. Vol­un­teer hours dur­ing the event were ap­prox­i­mately 4950 - just amaz­ing.

Some other sta­tis­tics – our bar­be­cue staff cooked 532 kg of sausages, 286 kg steak, used 232 kg onions, 600 loaves of bread. More than 12,000 items of glow prod­ucts were sold. Christ­mas Raf­fle tick­ets to­talled 6250 and ice creams – well our vol­un­teers were kept busy as this year was es­pe­cially hot on some nights. Our bal­loon blow­ers filled more than 12,000 bal­loons for bal­loon shapes and our face painters lost count of the num­ber of faces painted. Christ­mas cake sales also were high.

Our han­dover of funds to the ben­e­fi­cia­ries will held at a spe­cial func­tion in Fe­bru­ary.

Plan­ning has started for the 2019 event which will be the 17th year of the event and the 12th an­niver­sary un­der our club’s man­age­ment.

Again, thank you to ev­ery­one who has sup­ported our event and al­lowed us to run an ex­tremely suc­cess­ful Toowoomba’s Christ­mas Won­der­land for 2018. See you at the lights in De­cem­ber 2019.

FIONA ROBERTS, Lions Club of Toowoomba West pres­i­dent

TOURISM

WON­DER­FUL news again for the Toowoomba re­gion’s busi­nesses with the record num­ber of tourists.

But re­cent head­lines again raise the ques­tion about the need for two tourism bod­ies in the area and why? It would be ex­pected that the re­spon­si­bil­ity of a body would be the pro­mo­tion of the re­gion with pro­fes­sional cam­paigns and to iden­tify the ben­e­fits to busi­ness in the re­gion, and also open the doors to vis­i­tors of­fer­ing ru­ral ex­pe­ri­ences not found in coastal hot spots.

If the tourism stake­hold­ers can’t see eye to eye to sit around one board ta­ble with sim­i­lar hopes for the re­gion, does that not send a mixed mes­sage to the com­mu­nity?

With the two tourism bod­ies there must come a fi­nan­cial du­pli­ca­tion of ex­penses – wages, rent, ve­hi­cles etc…. and all that keeps a busi­ness on track. Is that nec­es­sary?

Come on team Toowoomba with tourism bod­ies un­der one ban­ner. Why not?

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