Ballarat's $5 million Summer Fling

BALLARAT is expected to reap more than $5 million from next month’s Summer Fling events program.

It follows the success of last year’s Ballarat Regional Tourism focus on major events during traditionally quiet January.

BRT director George Sossi said Summer Fling’s aim was to turn around a flat period in Ballarat’s events program due to Victorians flocking to the beach.

“The only way to fight back was to change the weather or to put on events that provide a lot of activity,” Mr Sossi said.

“The cycling is growing, the Beer Festival is growing, the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields is growing and it’s all starting to draw people back to Ballarat.”

The Cycling Australia Road National Championships start on January 8 and culminate on January 12 with the Elite Men’s Road Race at Buninyong, while the 19th Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields includes 23 performances from January 10 to 19.

The highly successful Ballarat Beer Festival will be held at the City Oval on January 18 and the surprise hit of last year, the Ballarat Beat Rockabilly Festival, is locked in again for February 13 to 16.

“We’re expecting to grow on last year,” Mr Sossi said.

“The economic impact of the cycling was $3.6 million, the Beer Festival was around $1 million and all the events in January combined brought in about $5 million and then straight after that we had Rockabilly.

“It had a great following so hopefully it will be bigger and better too. It’s so visual, spilling out onto the streets.”

Mr Sossi said accommodation providers also did very well at this time of year.

“There will also be a lot of last minute people turning up so it’s shaping up to be a great summer.”

Ballarat Windmill Holiday Park owner Adrienne Cove said the strong program of January events this year had definitely increased their patronage.

“I would have to support Ballarat Regional Tourism with this campaign. We’re expecting a busy summer.”

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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