Vis­i­tor num­bers surge

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY EMMA PRIOR

The Sun Coun­try re­gion in­clud­ing Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala has ex­pe­ri­enced some of the most sig­nif­i­cant vis­i­ta­tion growth in Vic­to­ria and NSW.

Sta­tis­tics re­leased by Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia show the lat­est vis­i­tors num­bers in­creas­ing by 12.1% in the last 12 months. Along with im­pres­sive growth in to­tal vis­i­tor num­bers, length of stay and vis­i­tor spend have also in­creased.

The re­port also stated the Sun Coun­try re­gion re­ceived 650,000 do­mes­tic overnight vis­i­tors who in to­tal spent nearly 2.1 mil­lion nights in the re­gion, which was an in­crease of 8.7% for the year end­ing June 2018.

Over­all vis­i­tor spend for the Murray Re­gion was up 25.2% to­talling a stun­ning $1.8 bil­lion.

Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Tourism and Busi­ness Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Noel Wright said the fig­ures for Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala were re­ward­ing and came down to the in­tro­duc­tion of new and dif­fer­ent events, at­trac­tions and build­ing in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the area.

“The num­bers are pleas­ing for the Sun Coun­try re­gion of which Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala is a sig­nif­i­cant part,” Mr Wright said.

“Sun Coun­try on the Murray is the only re­gion along the Murray to re­ceive dou­ble digit vis­i­tor growth in the past two con­sec­u­tive years, so these June 2018 num­bers are par­tic­u­larly pleas­ing when you look at the vis­i­tor num­ber in­creases over the time frame of a few years.

“Ad­di­tional tourism prod­uct is also prov­ing to be a sig­nif­i­cant at­trac­tant to the vis­i­tors. “Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Tourism and Busi­ness (YMTB) con­tinue to work to in­tro­duce new tourism prod­ucts and en­cour­age pri­vate in­vest­ment to cre­ate new prod­uct.

“Aqua­zone, Tun­za­fun and the Farm Gate Trail add to the at­trac­tion of the lake, the clubs and golf.

“The Sil­ver­woods de­vel­op­ment will also open the way to a new au­di­ence which will pro­vide up­ward pres­sure on vis­i­tor num­bers upon com­ple­tion.”

Al­bury Wodonga, Echuca Moama, Swan­hill and Mil­dura Went­worth also recorded in­creased num­bers in re­gards to do­mes­tic day trip and overnight vis­i­tors, in­ter­na­tional overnight vis­i­tors and money spent in the re­gion.

As well as the gen­eral busy vis­i­tor pe­ri­ods YMTB have worked hard to en­sure off peak times still of­fer some­thing ex­cit­ing to en­tice vis­i­tors to the twin towns.

“YMTB have sourced and se­cured a num­ber of events out­side of the typ­i­cal peak hol­i­day pe­riod in Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala, events that also help to pro­vide vis­i­tor num­ber spikes, par­tic­u­larly if the event is out­side of our nor­mal busy pe­riod,” Mr Wright said.

“We con­tinue to work on sourc­ing and se­cur­ing sig­nif­i­cant events how­ever, bud­getary con­straints does ham­per this process.

“The in­tro­duc­tion of the Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Kids Fes­ti­val in July has and will con­tinue to con­trib­ute to vis­i­tor num­bers dur­ing this tra­di­tion­ally slower time of the year.

“To put this in per­spec­tive, YMTB had 10,966 peo­ple through the vis­i­tor cen­tre doors in July, 2018 this is al­most 3,000 peo­ple higher than Jan­uary 2018.

“We had 1,800 peo­ple in on July 9 to watch Den­nis Mas­soud build a sand dragon. The dragon still re­mains and it is still a pop­u­lar photo/selfie op­por­tu­nity for our vis­i­tors.”

Chair of the Murray Re­gional Tourism (MRT) Board, Wendy Greiner, said these sig­nif­i­cant vis­i­ta­tion num­bers for the Murray Re­gion rep­re­sent the tremen­dous amount of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween MRT, lo­cal tourism bod­ies, coun­cils and tourism op­er­a­tors who have all put so much ef­fort into im­prov­ing and de­vel­op­ing the re­gion’s tourism of­fer­ings.

“While the river and our nat­u­ral as­sets are key to our tourism of­fer­ing and what we are known for, the re­gion has de­vel­oped far be­yond this,” Ms Greiner said.

“Food, wine, and out­door ad­ven­ture are all strong emerg­ing mar­kets, and the re­gion is cer­tainly tap­ping into this.

“By de­liv­er­ing the au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ences that our tar­get mar­kets want, we are in­creas­ing over­all vis­i­tor num­bers, along with length of stay and vis­i­tor spend.

“These fig­ures demon­strate that we are meet­ing the needs of our vis­i­tors, and we will con­tinue to forge ahead to de­velop more ex­pe­ri­ences for them to en­joy dur­ing their stay.

“Key to this is the de­vel­op­ment of projects and strate­gies iden­ti­fied in our Des­ti­na­tion Man­age­ment Plan (DMP).

“Ex­am­ples in­clude the Murray River Ad­ven­ture Trail, which is a world first, long dis­tance, multi-sport river ad­ven­ture trail that ex­tends along the Murray River and the Murray Farm to Plate strat­egy, which fo­cuses on agri­tourism and food/wine ex­pe­ri­ences.

“We are con­fi­dent that as we work through our blue­print for the fu­ture, in our DMP, that iden­ti­fies a range of new strate­gic de­vel­op­ments, we will con­tinue to tur­bocharge the econ­omy and in­crease vis­i­tor num­bers, spend and length of stay even fur­ther, while gen­er­at­ing jobs and en­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ment through­out the Murray Re­gion.”

MRT works in part­ner­ship with Visit Vic­to­ria, Des­ti­na­tion New South Wales, Des­ti­na­tion Rive­rina Murray, 13 Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment ar­eas and Re­gional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tions to grow the vis­i­tor econ­omy across the Murray re­gion.

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