Halls Gap is back in business

HALLS GAP - Just a week after the Grampians faced a mass exodus, the region's tourism operators are imploring people to return with Halls Gap and the Northern Grampians spared any major damage from fire.

In his second visit to the region in the space of four days, Premier Denis Napthine said the government will be very supportive of promoting tourism in the Grampians.

He stopped in at Grampians Adventure Golf/MOCO Gallery, Brambuk - The National Park and Cultural Centre, the Halls Gap Visitor Information Centre, Halls Gap Newsagency and stores along Stony Creek on Tuesday.

Dr Napthine also met with tourism operators and representatives from the Northern Grampians Shire Council.

"What a great place it is here in Halls Gap, that the businesses are open, tourism's active and alive and it's a great place to come," he said.

"I would urge people in Victoria to consider coming to Halls Gap."

Dr Napthine said the government was working with the council, tourism industry and community about how to put together a package of tourist promotion to encourage people to visit Halls Gap.

"This certainly will have cost the community millions of dollars in lost tourism, and that's why the best thing Victorians can do is come up to Halls Gap for a holiday and enjoy the magnificence of the Grampians," he said.

"Support Halls Gap, it's a great place. There's plenty of great walks here, great natural attractions, businesses are all open looking for your custom and you'll be well looked after."

Dr Napthine pointed to the number of events that were upcoming including the Halls Gap Cup at Stawell, Jazz Festival and Easter festivities.

"I'd urge people to come up for a holiday. The tourist dollar in Halls Gap is worth hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.

"It is the major driver of the economy, not just in Halls Gap, but the whole of the Northern Grampians region.

"It drives jobs, it drives the economy and that's why it's really important that we send a message that Halls Gap is open for business.

"It's very safe, and people can confirm their bookings if they've made bookings here or there are opportunities for other people to come up here."

Horsham's Larissa Riddell and her two daughters Lola and Matilda wasted no time to visit Halls Gap.

"We thought we'd get out here as soon as we could. We've been to the fudge shop, we've had lunch and now we're about to go to the zoo," she said.

"To keep the money rolling into Halls Hap... I think the sooner people get here the better!"

Dr Napthine said the government was working with Parks Victoria to re-establish and reopen a number of the key features of the park and key sites.

"A large part of the park is open. We even expect that some of the key features of the parks will be reopened in the very near future," he said.

Dr Napthine also met with representatives from the Northern Grampians Shire Council.

Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin said council was grateful the Premier had taken time to tour Halls Gap which is now welcoming visitors.

"Due to the diligent work of our emergency services, Halls Gap wasn't directly impacted by the fires, but we appreciate the economic impacts it has had on the business and tourism industry," he said.

"With the town fully back up and running and sections of the National Park now reopen, the Premier's visit has given the community a real boost.

"Halls Gap remains the heart of the Grampians and that heart is still beating loud and strong.

"As a council, we appreciate the Premier's commitment to encouraging visitors back to the Grampians and supporting our local tourism businesses."

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