Bendigo due for a boost to tourism

BENDIGO is due for a tourism boost, according to Bendigo Motels Association president Charlie Lofuts.

Mr Loftus, who represents 33 motel operators in the area, said tourism had been quiet of late.

“But I think things are looking fairly optimistic for this year,” he said.

“Once the hospital gets into gear along with a number of other projects, I think accommodation numbers will go right back up again.

“I’ve been in the industry here for 10 years and I’ve seen it go up and down.

“I’ve learnt that when it does go quiet, you just wait and things will pick up again.”

Figures released by Tourism Victoria show 3700 people in the region worked in tourism in 2011/12.

Statistics show the industry was worth about $1 million per day, and that the Bendigo Loddon region outpaced Ballarat.

Mr Lofuts said Bendigo had been quiet over summer.

“Traditionally people go where there’s water,” he said.

“The beach and the river are usually high on people’s agenda.

“We mainly have people visiting relatives and friends this time of year.”

He said tourism had slowed last year due to the federal election.

But City of Greater Bendigo acting chief executive Stan Liacos said the industry was growing.

“There’s no doubt tourism is a substantial and growing part of our regional economy,” he said.

“It’s clearly very significant.

“It’s important for people to understand it doesn’t just include your classic leisure tourists, it’s also business tourism which has seen very big growth on the back of our growing economy.”

Figures show the percentage of people working in tourism in the Goldfields – which includes Ballarat – grew between 2006/07 and 2011/12.

The tourism industry contributed an estimated $1.1 billion to the Goldfields economy in 2011/12, according to the report.

Across the Goldfields, tourism accounted for 10 per cent of gross regional product.

The report was undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics for tourism Victoria late last year and released recently.

Mr Liacos said the City of Greater Bendigo strongly promoted tourism with collaboration from other municipalities.

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