Hotel chain would attract tourists: Sovereign Hill chief

AN INTERNATIONALLY-renowned hotel chain in Ballarat’s city centre would help attract more overseas and interstate tourists to the city, according to Sovereign Hill chief executive Jeremy Johnson.

Mr Johnson, who is also the Victorian Tourism Industry Council chairman, said a four-star hotel with a significant number of rooms in downtown Ballarat could help attract repeat visitors to the city, particularly international and interstate tourists. 

Mr Johnson’s claims come as Research Tourism Australia data revealed almost a 30 per cent decline in intrastate overnight stays for holiday and leisure from December 2012 to December 2013. 

The data also revealed the total number of international visitors to Ballarat was down 16 per cent between September 2012 to September 2013. 

“The trick is we want a lot of repeat visitors and what would help ... would be a large hotel,” Mr Johnson said. 

Mr Johnson said Ballarat’s existing hotels, including Craig’s Royal Hotel and Novotel Forest Resort Creswick, targeted a different tourist market. 

“A brand reach hotel would see tour groups come through, travelling along a circuit from Ballarat to the Great Ocean Road,” he said. 

Mr Johnson said there were a number of factors that led tourists to spend fewer nights in Ballarat, particularly the city’s close proximity to Melbourne.