More people are staying overnight in Ballarat than ever before, according to the latest visitor statistics, with the city's growth outstripping the performance of the state as a whole.
Figures released earlier this month show that the number of domestic overnight visitors soared in the 12 months to the end of June from 741,000 to 927,000.
With around 25,000 international visitors, that brought the total to 952,000 for the year.
The number of domestic overnight visitors grew by 25 per cent, outpacing the rate for Victoria - itself the fastest growing state in Australia at 13.6 per cent.
The total visitor nights also surged, up to 2.2 million, an increase of 17.7 per cent year-on-year, with 1.9m domestic nights spent in Ballarat by domestic visitors and 249,000 by international visitors.
The increase put Ballarat in the top 50 regions for overnights stays in the most recent year, a position it did not occupy for the last batch of statistics released.
The long-term trends - which statisticians at Tourism Research Australia suggest should carry much more clout - will also make encouraging reading for those involved in the local tourism industry.
The estimated growth in the money spent by visitors over the past five years is 60.1 per cent, compared to the Bendigo and Loddon region, which went up by 53.1 per cent.
Of the $570 million spent, $256million was on daytrips, and $314m was on overnight trips. For Bendigo and Loddon, the overall figure was $738 million, with $336m spent on daytrips, and $402m on overnight stays.
Meanwhile, the number of overall visits in the Ballarat region stood at 3.3 million, up 9.5 per cent year-on-year.
Statistics relate to the last period fully overseen by Visit Ballarat, the former tourism and marketing arm of the city, which had its funding cut earlier this year.
A council decision to remove funding and take it back in-house proved controversial among many tourism business owners, who defended the performance of Visit Ballarat.
The organisation had been run at arm's length from the council since 2012. When the decision to cut funding was announced, there was 12 months remaining on a three-year service agreement.
The process to take tourism services back in house is now complete. A series of jobs were advertised in August, with marketing responsibilities already being carried out by the council when the transition was taking place.
[The increase in overnight stays] is tremendously positive for the city of Ballarat.Iain Gunn, chair of Ballarat Regional Tourism
A replacement group, Ballarat Regional Tourism, has since been formed. It is designed as an advocacy group for the local tourist industry, but without any of the marketing responsibilities looked after by Visit Ballarat.
The organisation's new chair Iain Gunn described the latest figures as "tremendously positive for the city of Ballarat."
"We are pleased with the historical achievement and the challenge will be maintaining the momentum.
"We look forward to working closely with the City of Ballarat, improving and growing tourism in our area."
Mr Gunn also suggested the increase in overnight stays could be linked to tapping into a growing market in Melbourne. He cited the Made of Ballarat campaign as a positive influence in changing the way the city is perceived, cultivating a more modern, creative image and highlighting Ballarat's growing culinary scene.
Meanwhile, the latest statistics show that the number daytrippers - who account for by far the majority of visits to Ballarat - are still on the rise as seen in the previous set of quarterly figures.
The number of people recorded on day-trips to Ballarat jumped by a shade 101,000 for the same time frame to 2.371 million.
Other areas showed a steeper increase, with Bendigo and Loddon registering 309,000 more daytrippers in the same time with a total of 3.173 million, while the Geelong and Bellarine up 275,000 to 4,159 million.
Sovereign Hill comfortably remains the top day-trip destination for the area with around 740,000 visitors going through their gates last year.
More broadly in Victoria the number of overnight visits recorded went up from 25,517,000 to 29,047,000. The number of visitor nights increased from 73,382,000 to 81,165,000. It had the second most overnight visitors but fewer visitor nights. Victoria had the fastest growing number of visitors at 13.6 per cent.
Of those visitors, by far the greatest majority are Victorians travelling within their own state, accounting for 20,504,000 overnight visits in total, a trend reflected elsewhere in Australia.
The City of Ballarat council confirmed to The Courier on Friday that they would be publishing tourism targets in new Destination Management Plans. A spokesperson said they hope to release them early next year.