HOTELS are fast booking rooms and ticket sales for events in Bendigo during March have been given a major boost, as excitement gears up for the opening of the Elvis: Direct from Graceland exhibition.
The flow on effects from the exhibit have impacted sales of a variety of goods and services, including ticket sales for the Lost Trades Fair on March 19 and 20.
Elvis has a strong fan base in Australia, with many thousands of people flocking each year to the annual Parkes Elvis Festival in NSW to celebrate the king. The event is usually a January fixture in the calendar but will be held in April this year.
The festival's director Cathy Treasure said the rock 'n roll icon appealed to all sections of society.
"People from all backgrounds come to celebrate Elvis. His music and movies reach across generations,'' she said.
Bendigo Art Gallery will host the exhibit and has confirmed that pre-sales of tickets for Elvis: Direct from Graceland have already eclipsed previous shows at the venue.
Mark Orlandi, marketing and audience engagement officer for Bendigo Art Gallery, said timed ticketing was being used to avoid long queues.
Read more: Elvis unveiling has Bendigo all shook up
"We don't want anybody to be disappointed so we are really encouraging them to pre-purchase their tickets,'' he said.
"Some sessions have already sold out. Vouchers have been selling very, very strongly - so people are giving them as gifts. It's shaping up to be very popular."
Owner of Bendigo's Shamrock Hotel, and regional spokesman for the Australian Hotels Association, Ray Sharawara said 32 of the 37 rooms at his establishment had been fully booked for the opening weekend of the exhibition before 2021 even ended.
"I think the Elvis exhibition will have an enormous impact on tourism revenue for Bendigo. People have been ringing venues here since the exhibition was first announced. They are telling us directly that they are coming here for exhibit."
Organiser and founder of the Lost Trades Fair Lisa Rundell said dates for the fair coincided with the opening weekend of the exhibition, to positive result.
"We have sold about four to five times as many tickets as we were expecting to by this stage,'' she said.
Read More: Lost Trades Fair returns to Bendigo for 2022
"Visitors are telling us that they are having a hard time securing accommodation. We have held fairs before and we know what to expect and this level of sales, this far out from the event, is a long way up from normal."
The Lost Trades Fair is considered one the the largest traditional trades events in Australia and is returning after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Rundell said only 5000 tickets were being released at this stage, and about 2000 had already been sold.
Ms Treasure said she expected many of the people who would arrive in Parkes for the Elvis Festival from April 20 to 24 would have visited Bendigo by that time.
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