Visitor numbers surge
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.