The COVID-19 global pandemic will have a long-lasting effect on the Grampians region and our local visitor economy.
Tourism and the broader visitor economy has been one of the hardest hit sectors within our economy, but it was wonderful to see some operators in our industry reopening their doors this week and welcoming back visitors.
It is a wonderful step forward and critically important development for our industry.
While we cannot really predict how the visitor economy will rebound, we know that Victoria and the Grampians region is in a much better position than many other destinations around the country. This is due to our heavy reliance on domestic tourism markets and our proximity to Melbourne.
The importance of domestic tourism has never been greater, and this will definitely offset the impact of remaining domestic and international travel restrictions.
OTHER NEWS: COUNCIL DRAFT BUDGET 2020/21
As of the most recent (pre COVID-19) visitor economy figures (year ending Dec 2019), interstate and intrastate overnight markets made up 95 per cent of overnight visitors to the Grampians. In addition to this, domestic day-trips were worth $149 million to the Grampians.
The domestic Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) market represents $126 million to our local economy, with more than 729,000 room nights booked across our region.
Our local communities can play an important role as ambassadors for our local region and by inviting friends and relatives for a holiday can help support the economic recovery of our region.
Those visitors who selected VFR as their purpose of visit for their trip into the Grampians rely more than other visitors on information from their friends or relatives and are guided by their hosts. \
Given the important role of hosts, we encourage our local communities to help promote our beautiful Grampians region and influence the future travel patterns of friends and relatives to come for a holiday.
We are already seeing the signs of a highly competitive domestic and intrastate market now that restrictions are being lifted and while it will be challenging to complete with larger tourism destinations, we believe our local community can play major role in our ability to rebound quickly and provide that economic lifeline many of our businesses are in need of now.
The VFR market will continue to increase with current economic climate and as our local communities welcome friends and relatives from all over Australia.
So now is a great time to get out and about and update your knowledge on our region.