Silver award goes one better

August 4, 2023 BY

Winners: City of Greater Bendigo tourism marketing officer Melissa Jensen and Heathcote Visitor Centre coordinator Janet Wicks celebrated success at the 2023 Victorian Top Tourism Town Awards. Photo: SUPPLIED

FOLLOWING on from last year’s bronze, Heathcote took out silver in the small town category at the recent 2023 TAC Victorian Top Tourism Town Awards last week.

Heathcote Tourism and Development president Peter Young said the second place was a reflection of the hard work and commitment of many people across the district.

“In terms of the wineries, a lot of people have invested big in cellar doors,” he said. “People have invested in accommodation.

“We’ve got investment in the form of places like Chauncy, Fodder and Palling Bros. The Union Hotel has been renovated and there’s the new IGA.

“The other thing to mention is gin making, there’s Domaine Asmara and Envy Distillers is another.

Mr Young emphasised they were mostly individuals and small businesses.

“It’s not corporatised investment, it’s people who are willing to put their buck where their belief is,” he said.

“You put all that together and you end up with a place that’s a lot more attractive for people to come and visit.

“Heathcote’s got such an amazing location in central Victoria, being on the pathway between Melbourne and Bendigo, and Melbourne and Echuca, so there’s just enormous opportunity to link in with people travelling between those places.

“You look at the town now and you see all the people who are building and subdividing, and the development that’s going on.

“There are large number of country towns that struggle to survive but Heathcote’s really going the other way.”

Bendigo won also silver in the top town category and City of Greater Bendigo mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said both awards acknowledged the region’s offerings for visitors.

“I am absolutely delighted that people have found Bendigo and Heathcote to be such wonderful and memorable places to visit,” she said.

“This is a fantastic endorsement for all those who contribute to Greater Bendigo’s strong reputation as a must-see destination.

“We have a passionate and hard-working tourism industry, including attractions, accommodation, retail, and hospitality providers that are proud to offer unique experiences and service for visitors of all ages and interests.

“Tourism is vital for our local economy because it supports a diverse range of businesses, generates job opportunities and keeps the spend local.”

Heathcote Visitor Centre coordinator Janet Wicks said it was great to bring home silver after last year’s bronze.

“We’re going for gold next year,” she said. “We’re proud to promote the fantastic experience offered by our wonderful operators in the Heathcote region.”