Zoo open day boosts Halls Gap's economy

Halls Gap business operators have hailed the open day at the Halls Gap Zoo on Sunday as a major economic winner for the township.

More than 4000 people visited the zoo for the open day, which was sponsored by Horsham and Stawell Toyota and coupled as a fundraiser for emergency services in the region.

Pip Mangle said figures indicated there were 4130 visitors to the zoo on Sunday for the open day any many of them took the opportunity to also wander through Halls Gap as part of their visit to the region.

"It was a fantastic day for businesses in Halls Gap," Mr Mangle said.

"What this does is leaves no doubt in the minds of anyone, the importance of the Halls Gap Zoo and the economic impact that it has on Halls Gap and the region.

"The number of people who came from the zoo and called into Halls Gap for an ice-cream or snack was just amazing.

"Because the open day was organised for a cause doesn't make any difference. The fact is the people came."

The line-up at both ice cream parlours stretched for several metres out the door and down the footpath. There were no vacant carparking places in the central business district and visitors wandered freely down the main street.

Mr Mangle said most shops would have been overwhelmed by the influx of people.

"When you break it down into daily turnover, the day was as good as we would have during the wine festival or jazz festival," he said.

"Obviously these events have a far bigger economic impact overall, because they stretch over more than one day, but as far as any single day's turnover goes, this outdid all the other events. For us personally, it was the best single day we have had.

"I believe as a result, businesses in Halls Gap will be very happy."

Mr Mangle said having such a fruitful day would give many business owners in Halls Gap a confidence boost.

"This has been a great kick start for businesses after the fires," he said.

"It really makes you sit up and think we're back on track."

Mr Mangle said while the day was extremely busy, he had the opportunity to speak with visitors who were thrilled with what the Halls Gap Zoo has to offer.

"A lot of people hadn't been to the zoo before," he said.

"Visitors came from Melbourne, Ballarat and beyond and left knowing we have a real attraction out here at the zoo.

"From the feedback I have received, all those people who saw the zoo for the first time were very impressed."

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