It’s the holidays. You’re looking for something for the kids to do, visitors to do, yourself to do. The long, hot, lazy summers by the pool only go so far.
So it’s great to see that locals have been playing tourist in their own backyard this year - staying local, spending their hard earned dollars locally and helping to keep the city in which they live flourishing. They are also taking their visitors along for the ride (literally, if it happens to be one of the towns historic trams).
Local retailers and cafes will be counting the benefits of the influx.
A vibrant cross section of things to do helps keeps a city as a tourist magnet … and them eager to return.
One artist emphasised how important it was to keep people coming through the doors to buy locally made products (Bendigo Brittle has been going down a treat) and see local experiences.
The heat hasn’t been a put-off. In fact, it has been a boon for venues such as the Central Deborah Gold Mine (nothing like going down a deep underground shaft to escape the blazing midday sun) or elegant older venues, such as Fortuna, where you can enjoy afternoon tea.
The increase in “local tourists” has partially been down to the Ambassador Pass - which has special offers for local residents. There are similar projects in other towns, with some tourist sites in Castlemaine - such as the historic Buda - offering an incentive for locals to visit with their guests.
There’s no shortage of things to do in the area. Children’s holiday programmes, places to picnic, houses to visit, leafy walks to enjoy or never-ending lunches under fans and airconditioners. Get out and try something.
Keep the momentum going through January after a Christmas that bucked the trend. “We have definitely seen a lot of visitors. Normally the expectation of Christmas people think it will be a bit quiet but we have still seen a lot of people through the door,” City of Greater Bendigo visitor services manager Jemma Docherty.
The city is obviously doing something right.