Bendigo Tourism has announced the first recipients of its Bendigo Tourism Grants Program.
The inaugural program encourages groups and businesses to introduce innovative projects which have the potential to increase visitation to the Bendigo Region.
It offers grants of up to $5000 to successful applicants to help start their initiatives.
“The Tourism Board is thrilled to be assisting these organisations, all of whom already make a significant contribution to our industry,” Bendigo Tourism Board chair Kathie Bolitho said.
Discovery Science and Technology Centre ($4000), Taylor’d Tours ($4000) and the Bendigo Visitor Centre ($2360) received the first grants.
Bendigo Visitor Centre will install a BookEasy enhancement to enable packages or bundled services for visitors.
The Discovery Centre will put the funds towards the planning and development of the Discovery After Dark experience.
Taylor'd Tours will use its grant to assist with promotion and publicity. The tours offer groups a three day, two night tour of Bendigo and include visits to a number of the city’s iconic tourist attractions.
Owner-operator of Taylor’d Tours Scot Taylor said his three-day boutique tour of Bendigo had been going for six months.
“It’s been a slow start but it’s just a case of working through it,” he said. “Bendigo has an unlimited amount of thigns to see and this is someting I really enjoy doing.”
His tours take place over three days and two nights with guests staying at the Hotel Shamrock and being escort to attractions including Fortuna Villa, the Great Stupa, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Central Deborah Goldmine and other local attractions.
“I saw a niche in the market for for a demographic of over 55s who want to visit Bendigo,” Mr Taylor said.
“This grant will go towards advertising in (targeted publications) that seniors read in Melbourne.
“Before I started the business I ran the idea past Bendigo Tourism who were fantastic in passing on ideas and contacts.”
Mr Taylor will take between eight and 10 people on each tour.
“It’s a personalised, guided tour, not a bus packed with 30 people,” he said.
Bendigo Tourism will seek further applications for grants in the new financial year.
Last night’s event also gave Bendigo Tourism a chance to encourage other local businesses to become a member.
Memberships give businesses a chance to enjoy regular networking in the tourism industry.
The tourism industry brings n an estimated $400 million to the Bendigo economy.
Bendigo Tourism is hoping to grow the number of businesses in its membership base.
“We offer a range of membership options in order to encourage all types of businesses to join,” Ms Bolitho said.