Ballarat has beat out nearby rival Bendigo for the title of Victoria's Top Tourist Town at an awards ceremony on Wednesday night.
Ballarat took out the title for towns with a population over 5000 ahead of Lakes Entrance and Bendigo while Port Fairy won the Top Small Tourism Town award ahead of Timboon and Apollo Bay.
Thirty destinations nominated for the awards, with 22 named finalists and competing in an online voting process that recorded more than 23,000 votes across both categories.
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Ballarat will now move on to compete for the title of Australia's Top Tourism Town with the winner to be announced at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday, September 2.
The Top Tourism Town awards are part of Victorian and Australian Tourism Awards hosted by the Victoria Tourism Industry Council.
VTIC chief executive Felicia Mariani said it was a great time to showcase the diverse regional destinations Victoria has and the economic impact tourism brings to these towns.
"With all the industry has endured over the past 18 months, this is a perfect time for us to acknowledge and celebrate all that our regional towns and centres have done to deliver compelling experiences to their visitors," she said.
"The visitor economy is an intrinsic part of the fabric of our regional communities all across the state and is a key driver of the economic performance of our regional areas. These awards are the perfect way to recognise the critical role that our industry plays in the vibrancy of regional Victoria.
"VTIC would like to congratulate all the finalists in this year's Awards. This has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone in our industry and achieving finalist status is a real testament to the passion and commitment of Victoria's regional destinations."
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