REGION - Northern Grampians Shire Council welcomed the opportunity to host a visit by the full board of Tourism Victoria in October.
Board members visited the Grampians and enjoyed tours of wineries, including Seppelt, viewed the future site for the Wildlife Arts Museum Australia, took a look over the Grampians Peaks Trail plans and then spent time in Halls Gap speaking with a number of industry people, individuals and business operators.
Shire chief executive officer Justine Linley said hosting the visit by the board was a wonderful opportunity for the Northern Grampians Shire.
"The focus of our discussion with the board members was on product development and what we can do to attract more international tourism to our region," Mrs Linley said.
"These are the types of things that Tourism Victoria is naturally interested in for sure.
"It's not only about international tourism either, we need to be able to attract more domestic visitation to the region.
"Tourism Victoria has not looked at that aspect for a number of years, but the board has changed and has a different perspective now, so they are now trying to promote Australians visiting Australia."
Mrs Linley said the focus of the board appeared to be going back on the various regions of the state.
"This is evidenced by the fact the Tourism Victoria Board came out here to the Grampians," she said.
"I can't remember the last time they were in the Grampians and I believe some really positive things can come out of the visit.
"The board members had very positive things to say about Grampians Tourism and how it operates and about its regional cooperation with councils and its members on the board."
Council's Director Marketing and Community Development, Jim Nolan, said tourism was vital to the Northern Grampians Shire and council would continue to work hard to promote the Grampians, Great Western, St Arnaud, Stawell and all that the shire has to offer.
"When looking at tourism investment, it seems to follow where the people are," she said.
"That's where investment will generally take place. Halls Gap is a great example of that.
"All that really reinforces what council is doing with regard to strengthening the central business district of Stawell and also the Halls Gap product.
"From a tourism point of view, the publicity generated regarding a new development in St Arnaud in Melbourne media has been really positive.
"We are now seeing a lot of good publicity about St Arnaud. We believe it shows there are opportunities there and good reason for optimism that people are prepared to invest in our towns.
"All this is proof that the promotion of the region that Grampians Tourism is doing, is really paying off."