Tourism an economic boon to the Goldfields and Ballarat

RESEARCH released yesterday by the state government has highlighted the economic impact of tourism on regional Victoria – including the Goldfields region.

The study by Tourism Victoria and Deloitte Access Economics revealed tourism generated $1.12 billion to the Goldfields region during the 2011-12 financial year. The Goldfields region umbrellas Ballarat and Bendigo and employs 12,500 people.

Ballarat Regional Tourism chief executive officer George Sossi said Ballarat contributed more than half of the tourism dollars in the Goldfields region 

“Tourism in Ballarat generates over 2000 jobs directly. The economic impact from tourism – direct and indirect – is about $570 million for Ballarat,” he said. 

Mr Sossi said events like the Ballarat Beer Festival and the Ballarat Beat Rockabilly Festival attracted tourists to the city during a traditionally quiet period.

“The attractions, our accommodation and aggressive event portfolio is bringing people to Ballarat in January,” he said. “Traditionally people will go in droves to the beach in summer. We are now giving them an alternative.

“Sovereign Hill does extremely well during the school holidays, but you also have a new and emerging Ballarat. Our food and wine is starting to emerge in leaps and bounds.”

Mr Sossi said tourism in Ballarat was gaining momentum thanks to a low Australian dollar.

“Tourism has been growing over the years. The challenge that we’ve had is to stem the flow of people going overseas. The dip in the dollar will help regional tourism,” he said. “Domestic tourism is becoming more affordable than what it was before.” 

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said tourism was a major economic driver for regional Victoria.

“Tourism is a valuable contributor to Victoria’s regional economies, worth $10.9 billion to regional Victoria and generating the employment of 109,000 people both directly and indirectly in 2011-12,” Ms Asher said.

The study also found that Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region generated $804 million through tourism while the Grampians region generated $949 million.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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