BALLARAT tourism body Visit Ballarat has added Pyrenees Shire Council to its tourism program.
The two officially branded together last week in an effort to grow and diversify tourism in the region.
The partnership is effective from July 1 and is contracted for three years.
Building on the Ballarat’s evolving food and wine scene, the partnership is set to add the Pyrenees region’s nationally recognised food and wine component.
Visit Ballarat chief executive Noel Dempsey said the announcement was fantastic news for both regions.
“This is a collaboration between a great city and a great region and will see more tourists visit our area,” he said.
“People travel on their taste buds.
“Aligning Ballarat with the Pyrenees and its amazing wine region makes sense. It also allows us to market our region to attract more visitors.
“The Pyrenees wine region extends our premium wine offering, as it is a stone’s throw from Ballarat. Our combined efforts will aim to extend overnight stays with a more diverse offering.”
Pyrenees Shire Council chief executive Jim Nolan said he looked forward to a long and successful partnership which ensured all businesses and events in both regions continued to grow and thrive.
“Our regions have always been complementary; this new tourism partnership will provide benefits to both regions,” Mr Nolan said.
“The Pyrenees Shire is well known for our breathtaking landscapes, natural experiences and incredible wines.”
The move is expected to be significant for the region’s vineyards.
Summerfield Wines chief executive Mark Summerfield said he was supportive of the move, believing it will help small businesses grow their brand in Ballarat.
“The most direct route to Melbourne is through Ballarat (and) the demographic in Ballarat has changed a lot – it’s different to 15 years ago,” he said.
“It’s actually a restaurant and wine town (now).
“The numbers speak to themselves; if we’re not concentrating on Ballarat, a city of 100,000 people right on our doorstep, we’d be nuts.”
Pyrenees Shire mayor Michael O’Connor said expanding towards Ballarat – a major centre much closer geographically to certain areas of the Grampians, has its advantages.
“We need to feature a little bit more prominently,” he said.
“We’re much much closer to Ballarat (than the heart of the Grampians).
We were on the very outskirts of Grampians and they’ve been good to us, but when you’re on the outskirts and the objective is nature-based tourism – Halls Gap has got it (all).”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.