The peak tourism body for the Daylesford and Macedon region will focus on marketing, events and funding for new tourism infrastructure to help the region recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Daylesford Macedon Tourism chief executive Steve Wroe said an estimated 60 per cent of tourism businesses in the region stopped operating when COVID-19 restrictions were announced.
With overnight stays allowed from Monday under the Victorian Government's gradual easing of restrictions, the mood among operators has improved dramatically.
"I feel optimistic we are going to come out of this. People will be battered and bruised but in the last three or four days the change in mood and sentiment in the operators we are talking to is like night and day," Mr Wroe said.
"Everyone now is excited about the next few months. It has been a good week for tourism in the region."
On Monday, three of the region's accommodation booking agencies said they had their busiest booking day on record.Steve Wroe, Daylesford Macedon Tourism
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Daylesford Macedon Tourism has been providing support to industry through phone calls and summaries of critical information.
It delivered a webinar series on business improvement in partnership with the Hepburn Shire and Macedon Ranges Shire Councils for more than 100 businesses.
The team also switched its marketing to 'inspiration mode', reminding email and social media followers what makes the region so appealing with attractive images that promoted the wellness and nature brand.
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Mr Wroe said the tourism body was now moving into a 'tactical mode' in line with the easing of restrictions to promote tourism operator's products.
He said he was working with Visit Victoria and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to build a unified recovery plan with other tourism bodies.
The plan including a regional tourism campaign that will aim for similar success to the campaign following the bushfires.
Another focus is to secure funding for events that are strong drivers of visitation and funding for tourism infrastructure.
Mr Wroe pointed to Macedon Ranges Shire Council's success in securing $8.75 million state government funding to develop a cycling trail linking Woodend, Macedon, New Gisbourne and Riddells Creek as an exmaple.
"We need to continue to develop key tourism offerings that not only attract people, but gets them to stick around," he said.
"We don't really chase day trip visitors... we need to continue to build up a suite of products to get them to stay. That is what is valuable to the visitor economy."
Mr Wroe said the Daylesford Macedon region was well-placed to benefit from pent-up demand for travel, following hard work to develop the region's wellness, nature and food and wine brand in past years.
"I think the appeal of our region is high," he said.
"On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced restrictions would ease... On Monday three of the region's accommodation booking agencies said they had their busiest booking day on record."
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