THREE towns around the Grampians have made the shortlist for the Victoria Tourism Industry Council's (VTIC) 2021 Top Small Tourism Town Award.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council announced the finalists earlier in May with Halls Gap, Great Western and Dunkeld all making the list.
Grampians Tourism chief executive officer Marc Sleeman said the nominations were great recognition for the Grampians region.
"We've actually got three towns included, which also includes Dunkeld, so this give us one of the highest percentages of finalists in the state, which is wonderful," he said.
"From a destination perspective, I think it's fantastic to see that we have three towns from across the region included."
To be nominated for the award the Northern Grampians Shire Council submitted a video showcasing towns in the region, with Halls Gap and Great Western standing out above the pack.
"I think it's the connection to nature, and also the uniqueness of each destination," Mr Sleeman said.
"Great Western's history is quite significant and has a number of selling features as a unique destination.
"I think it comes through the videos that connection to community, the connection to nature and I think the historical connection with Great Western is one of the oldest wine stories in the state, so I think that played an important part.
"Now it's over to the local community to support these finalists."
Finalists will now proceed to the consumer voting element of the awards for the public to decide who will receive the title of Victoria's Top Tourism Town.
The winner of the Top Tourism Town Award (population more than 5,000) will receive $15,000 of airtime with Prime 7 and the winner of the Top Small Tourism Town Award (population less than 5,000) will receive $10,000 of airtime with Prime 7.
Both winners will then progress on to the nationals for a chance to be named Australia's Top Tourism Town.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Murray Emerson encouraged residents to vote for the finalists.
"These small towns have a lot to offer for our residents and play an important role in attracting visitors and development to our region," he said.
"Voting is now open to the public until May 27 and I encourage the community to support these towns by having a say. Votes can be submitted at https://www.vtic.com.au/toptourismtown."
The council said Great Western's entry centred around the town's strong wine history and the award-winning wineries that can be found in and around the Great Western township.
Halls Gap's submission focused on the natural landscape and amazing views boasting hikes, walks, and activities for the entire family to enjoy, together with high-quality food, beverage and accommodation options.
VTIC chief executive, Felicia Mariani, said the awards would showcase Victoria's most compelling destinations.
"After a year of being in and out of lockdown in Victoria, Victorians have developed a real love affair with the beautiful destinations in their own backyard," she said.
"It is the perfect time to introduce an element to the Victorian Tourism Awards that celebrates our regional areas and allows us to nominate our favourite part of this great state as a Top Tourism Town.
"We're calling on every Victorian to cast their vote and show their support for our domestic tourism industry.
"The sector has been rocked this year by the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions on our operations."
Every tourism product across Victoria has been affected, and every business has worked so hard to survive the past 12 months. Now is the time for us to acknowledge what regional towns and centres have done to revitalise their tourism experiences and welcome visitors back."
Victorian Top Small Tourism Towns finalists
- Aireys Inlet
- Apollo Bay
- Great Western
- Halls Gap
- Port Fairy
- San Remo
Top Tourism Towns finalists
- Lakes Entrance
- Swan Hill
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