NEW Tourism Victoria figures have revealed tourism is injecting over $1.75 million a day into the Bendigo Loddon economy and creating jobs.
The data shows visitors spent $642 million in the region over the 2011/2012 financial year, with major events drawing the crowds.
Across the whole Goldfields area, from Ballarat to Bendigo, tourism's contribution to the economy increased by 15.2 per cent from the previous year.
Bendigo Regional Tourism board chair councillor Paula Nixon said the increase coincided with major regional events, including the Bendigo Art Gallery’s White Wedding exhibition.
“We know the major events now being staged in Bendigo are having a positive effect across the whole region and these new Tourism Victoria statistics help prove just how positive that is,” she said.
“It’s estimated tourism directly represents 3.2 per cent of the total Goldfields’ economy.
“Visitors are coming to Bendigo for major events, and many of them are staying longer to explore the region.”
City of Greater Bendigo executive manager of tourism Kathryn Mackenzie said the data reveals tourism is also “drilling down into jobs”.
“The figures are quite significant,” she said.
“It really quantifies what tourism means right down to a jobs level.
“It is an important sector.
“In a noisy economy when there is lots of pressure to fly overseas or visit Melbourne, if Bendigo can continue to have significant events and make it important to come now, rather than put it off or go to another destination, it can certainly contribute to the economy.
"Small businesses are benefiting as well as medium and large businesses and this is also permeating out into the region."
Tourism-related employment across the Goldfields rose by 12.8 per cent from the previous year, with 6500 people employed in the Bendigo Loddon region as a direct result of tourism, with 2900 full time and 3600 part time jobs.
Across the whole Goldfields economy the tourism industry contributed an estimated $1.115 million over 2011/2012.