JOURNALISTS from around Australia gathered in Ballarat yesterday for a stylised ‘spring’ lunch.
The event was part of Ballarat Regional Tourism’s marketing campaign ‘Ballarat in Bloom’, which seeks to capitalise on and celebrate the end of winter.
Reporters and local producers indulged in a lunch in the Robert Clark Conservatory which was catered with local produce.
Ballarat Regional Tourism CEO George Sossi said ‘Ballarat in Bloom’ brings together Ballarat’s many art, garden, food and fashion events and offerings over spring into the one marketing campaign.
“This event has seen more journalists under the same roof at the same time than any other event we’ve held here in Ballarat,” Mr Sossi said.
“It’s been well worthwhile and the journalists have been very honest and appreciative of the program we’ve put together. You’ve always got to be reinventing yourself and providing what the consumer wants.”
For ConnectPink national reporter Breanna Tucker, the only memory of Ballarat before this was from when she was 12-years-old and visited Sovereign Hill.
“I was really impressed with the respect residents have for preserving Ballarat’s history in their houses and I have loved the fashion,” Ms Tucker said.
“A lot of fashion designers were telling me that they’ve come from Melbourne to set up their business here. The range of fashions on sale are really interesting.”
The one thing that was completely new for Ms Tucker was seeing the number of shops combined with cafes.
“I don’t know if that’s a Ballarat thing or if I’m just an Albury girl and not used to it but I just think that’s a brilliant concept,” she said.
“Everywhere we have eaten has been brilliant. And the city is amazing. I wouldn’t live here in winter because it’s cold enough now but it’’s definitely somewhere that I’d love to come back to.”
Ms Tucker’s favourite place over her two-day travel junket was 321 Learmonth.
“I would love to go back there, if not for the cider, (then) for the people. They were amazing,” she said.
Impressed with the Ballarat Regional Tourism’s program for the journalists, Ms Tucker suggested for the program to be a part of the Ballarat Visitor’s Information Centre brochures.
“I found the program quite exhausting and at the end of the day I have been really mentally exhausted but at the same time I’ve seen the whole city in two days,” she said.
“I’d love more time here.”
BRT chairperson Stuart Benjamin said the journalists participated in experiences tailored to the types of publications they reported for.
“Essentially we’re looking for them to have a terrific experience and they go home and write about it,” Mr Benjamin said.