Summer events bring in the crowds

BALLARAT’s long list of summer events is being credited for bringing in large numbers of tourists to the city with some tourism operators reporting strong results for the period.

A total of 21 major events were held during the summer season.

About 4000 people per day attended the Ballarat Beat Rockabilly festival while 23,500 flocked to the final day of the Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Buninyong. 

The Ballarat Beer Festival drew 6500 people to the event and the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Festival also drew in large numbers with many sticking around for the entire 10 days of the event. 

Ballarat Regional Tourism chief executive George Sossi said February’s heatwave had impacted on tourist numbers, however, strengthening summer events had been a key focus of the organisation. 

“A few years ago we recognised an obvious gap in our events calendar, which meant there was a great opportunity for the city, so we made the decision to seek events to fill that space,” he said. 

“We now estimate the impact on the city’s events generate over this period in excess of $10 million when you take into account overnight stays and day trips.”

Sovereign Park Motor Inn manager Tim Canny said the summer events meant his hotel was booked out frequently during the period. 

“It used to be a very quiet time of year for us because so many people travelled towards the coast during the summer months.

“But having events like the national cycling championships, the junior athletics competitions, Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields and the Ballarat Beer Festival brought people to town to stay a few nights.”