TOURISTS are flocking to Bendigo according to statistics released Tourism Research Australia.
More than 3.5 million domestic and international day trippers and overnight stayers visited the Bendigo Loddon region from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.
The visitors to the region injected an estimated $517 million into the local economy.
The survey shows domestic and international visitors increased by 27 per cent and spending increased by 43.7 per cent from the previous three years.
City of Greater Bendigo acting manager of tourism Glenn Harvey said the increase in visitors to Bendigo was a reflection of the exciting events calendar.
“We had a big year with Marilyn, which drew thousands to region and reflects Bendigo as a growing destination,” he said.
“Each year we are growing the event calendar and contributing to the growth (of tourism in the region).
“By all indicators we should continue to grow each year. I would like to think we can continue to do that and have consistent growth over many years.”
Mr Harvey said the Bendigo Loddon region has become a key Victorian destination for arts, culture, food and wine.
“Over the past 10 years we have been working hard to attract and market our major events and exclusive Bendigo Art Gallery exhibitions, and the survey results prove our strategies are working. Bendigo is definitely on the visitor radar,” Mr Harvey said.
“We are finding that more people are coming here and staying longer.”
Senator for Victoria Jane Hume said the National Visitor Survey showed Bendigo’s tourism industry was continuing to grow.
“More Australians and international tourists are visiting our wonderful Bendigo region and spending more – which is boosting our local economy and creating even more jobs,” Ms Hume said.
Ms Hume said tourism remains a pillar of the economy.
“The government will continue to invest in growing our vibrant tourism sector,” Ms Hume said.
“Our domestic visitor numbers are strong throughout Australia – with more Australians holidaying at home and spending a record $61.7 billion during the year.”
The National Visitor Survey is available on the Tourism Research Australia at www.tra.gov.au