Our chance to claim Ipswich's 'Big Thing'
THERE'S already a Big Banana, a Big Pineapple and a Big Bogan, but what is Ipswich's 'Big Thing'?
Regional towns around Australia have secured their place on the tourism map with a giant icon of what their town is known for and now Ipswich has a chance to find a 'Big Thing'?
Online travel website Wotif has launched a national search to gift an Aussie town or city a new tourist attraction.
Known as the 'Next Big Thing', the structure which the nation will vote on, will join the ranks of more than 150 unique Australian icons including the Big Banana and the Big Pineapple, aiming to support the domestic tourism industry and help drive money back into the local economy.
Australians are obsessed with 'Big Things'
New Wotif research highlights Australians' love for 'Big Things'.
Widely regarded as a cult Aussie phenomenon, the research reveals a fascination with 'Big Things', including a desire to travel around the country to visit these oversized monuments.
90% of Aussies have visited a 'Big Thing' in their lifetime and the average traveller has visited five 'Big Things'.
More than half of Australians will stop off if they see a 'Big Thing' while on the highway, and almost two out of five Australians will travel out of their way - believing a visit to a 'Big Thing' improves any road trip.
The research reveals there's a deep sense of pride for 'Big Things' among Aussies, with an overwhelming 80% believing these structures are 'uniquely Australian', showcasing the fun-loving spirit of the nation.
Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch points said the 'Next Big Thing' was a significant addition to Australian tourism.
"As Wotif enters its 18th year, we want to celebrate with the Australian public and give back to the people that have helped Wotif evolve: destinations, tourism providers and travelers," he said.
"What better way to do this than by giving Australia something synonymous with the tourism landscape, and which all Aussies love - the 'Next Big Thing'?"
"With more Aussies opting to travel locally and domestic travel predicted to grow by 21% over the next 10 years, our decision to give Aussies just another reason to discover their own backyard, is something we feel passionate about.
Mr Finch said regional Australia played a critical role in the Australian tourism industry and accounted for 44 cents of every tourism dollar spent here.
"As the search for Australia's 'Next Big Thing' begins, we are excited to be able to put not just the big cities, but also regional areas on the map - to create excitement within these communities and a new reason to visit, helping to boost local economies," he said.
Back your own Backyard
The nationwide search will ask Aussies to submit their suggested 'Big Thing' idea and its proposed Aussie location via Wotif's 'Next Big Thing' landing page.
The community can nominate a person, food, animal, or any other object - as long as it's big, and from Cabramatta (NSW) to Cooladdi (QLD), all destinations, right across Australia are eligible.
Public entries will be judged by Wotif, with a shortlist of finalists announced on Tuesday, September 25.
Those that will really get noticed may show, amongst other things, originality, imagination, a relevance to the local area and represent the intrinsic uniqueness of a 'Big Thing'.
The final winner of the 'Next Big Thing' will then be chosen by the nation in a two-week voting process to take place between September 25 at midday and October 9, with Australia's 'Next Big Thing' planned to be built and unveiled by the end of the year.
See www.wotif.com/nextbigthing for full details.