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MEDIA RELEASE - Spring visitor numbers continue to grow

17 December 2018

Visitor numbers grew by more than nine per cent for the Spring quarter in the Glenelg Shire led by a craze by tourists to get a ‘selfie with a Kelpie’.

Casterton’s new Australian Kelpie Centre led the growth with 4193 visitors through the door from September to November, almost double 2017 figures.

Overall 21,506 visitors were registered across the shire’s three visitor information centres, which also include Portland and Casterton, an increase of 9.2 per cent on the previous year’s Spring quarter.

Of this 2223 were foreign visitors, largely from European markets led by the United Kingdom, Germany and Netherlands.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank said council’s kelpie promotional campaign had paid significant dividends in boosting tourist trade for the shire.

“Our visitor staff have been inundated with visitors from across the country wanting to experience this unique new tourism offering. The selfie with a kelpie campaign added a new fun element to the campaign with locals and visitors alike joining the craze,” Cr Rank.

“Indeed, the visitor growth has been so significant, staff have been forced to order extra brochures and souvenirs to ensure the visitor requests are met. These strong numbers infiltrate into the local community with people visiting local stores, cafes, hotels and restaurants exploring the authentic country experience.”

Portland remained the shire’s busiest centre for the season with 12,870 visitors, a slight decrease of 240 from 2017. This included 1551 international visitors which were also down by 24 per cent compared to the previous Spring season.

Nelson recorded an eight per cent increase in visitors with 4443 attracted to the Leake Street centre including 561 internationals.
This growth was translated at a state level, with the visitor economy now the number three export earner for Victoria, valued at more than $5 billion and employing 220,000 people.

Cr Rank said council was confident of further growth in visitor numbers during the busy summer season, further supporting local businesses and trade.

“Council is gearing up for a busy events season with the return of our popular New Year’s Eve and Hooked on Portland celebrations, plus the docking of another two cruise ships, whilst the pop-up cinema is also hitting the road on a regional tour,” she said.

“This is on top of the countless community events planned such as fun runs, rodeos and fetes including the return of the popular Heywood Wood Wine and Roses festival.

“Our profile continues to grow because of these great community offerings. It is also pleasing to see that our caravan parks and accommodation outlets are reporting near sell-out figures for this busy season.”

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