Festivals and events are attracting more interstate visitors to stay overnight in Ballarat, according to a report released by tourism body Visit Ballarat.
Big touring shows such the Archibald Exhibition at the gallery as well as more localised events such as the Beer Festival have driven the rise.
A Tourism Research Australia National Visitor survey reported that a total of 26.2 per cent of visitors to Ballarat were from interstate in the year ending September 2016, up by 15 per cent the previous year.
Interstate visitors also contributed 42.9 per cent of nights spent in the region, an increase of 12.1 per cent from the same time in 2015.
The report also found that total domestic overnight visitors spent an average of $151 per night in the region, totalling an estimated $219 million. This is up by 4.2 per cent on the previous year.
Visit Ballarat chief executive officer Noel Dempsey says it’s clear from the findings that Ballarat’s premium festivals and events, including the likes of Winterlude and the Archibald Prize, are attracting more visitors from outside of Victoria.
“Quality products and more of them are an enticing way to spend holiday dollars,” said Mr Dempsey.
“When average spend per night goes up, all our businesses feel the benefit.
“Visit Victoria’s recent Wander campaign will also have played a part in these figures, encouraging tourists to travel the region and explore the hidden gems that lie beyond Melbourne.”
The report found that the 45-to-54 year-old age group represented 19.2 per cent of overnight visitors to the region.
The 25-to-35 year-old age group represented 19.1 per cent of visitors
Mr Dempsey was appointed as the CEO of Visit Ballarat in April this year.
He sees the future of arts and culture in Ballarat as its great strength.
“In arts and culture, everyone defers to the Bendigo experience, or the Art Gallery. Arts and culture can be a lot broader than that,” Mr Dempsey said in an interview in September.
Maybe our niche, not definitively, can be music. Maybe music is the glue that makes this our niche, a bit like Seattle used to be 20 years ago.”
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