SCHOOL holiday tourism in Ballarat had a welcome boost by those particularly keen for a break from class. More than 2500 teachers have been true to their schools and flexing their competitive streaks for the Victorian Teachers Games.
The flow-on effect to the city’s pubs, restaurants and accommodation has been strong.
Visit Ballarat chief executive officer Noel Dempsey said economic figures for the four-day event were yet to be confirmed but early indications were accommodation was full and the city was buzzing.
“Teachers work hard and party harder – they’re not elite athletes, so they’re eating, drinking and celebrating the holidays,” Mr Dempsey said.
“In school holidays, trading always does pick up but this was definitely much bigger than usual. There is a real gap in the market at this time of year.”
Mr Dempsey said many central hospitality venues remained open on Monday and Tuesday night to cater for the influx on nights when they would usually be closed.
The Games featured social events from Sunday to Tuesday nights, including Sovereign Hill’s Blood on the Southern Cross, ghost tours, harness racing, Hop Temple music bingo and trivia nights, winery and brewery tours.
“That’s fantastic for Ballarat and hopefully we now have 2000 teachers who are advocates for what our city has to offer,” Mr Dempsey said.
The Games will return to Ballarat for the second of two-year hosting duties for the city.
School Sport Victoria chief executive officer Jude Maguire, speaking on the Games’ social media channels, said Ballarat had been an “extraordinarily successful Games”.
“It’s been fantastic to see so much collegiality and friendship over these Games,” Ms Maguire said.
Oakleigh South Primary School won the peer-voted Minister’s Cup for best embracing the Games’ spirit: friends, helping your colleagues, and sportsmanship.
Teachers could contest popular schoolyard games like dodgeball and spikeball. They could take aim in sports like pistol shooting, darts and archery. Or, they could line up in traditional sports like swimming, cycling, lawn bowls, AFL9s and netball.
Dragon boat racing made its Games debut on Lake Wendouree and croquet made a resurgence.