Coastal crowds reach their peak
THE Surf Coast Shire has confirmed events are back and bigger than ever with record numbers in attendance in some cases.
After being deprived in 2020, the return of events has spurred increased interest from visitors with the recent Great Ocean and Otway Classic Ride attracting more than 3,500 riders cycling around the Surf Coast region.
Large numbers were also recorded at recent events with 1,000 walkers completing the Surf Coast Trek as well as 1,000 festival goers attending a weekend of music at Meadow 2021 in the Otway Hinterland at Bambra.
General manager of environment and development, Ransce Salan, called the return of events a “big positive” for the local economy.
“Over the course of a year, visitors will spend more money in the Surf Coast Shire than local residents,” he said.
“They support our businesses and, in turn, generate local jobs for the community.
“Data provided by Spendmapp indicates visitors have spent more than twice as much as local residents in the Surf Coast Shire in the initial months of 2021.”
Mr Salan said major events in the region helped to attract multiple-night stays rather than day trip visits.
“While they attract those participating in the event, they also bring a significant contingent of support crew, friends and family that explore the Surf Coast Shire while the event is on and extend their holiday around it,” he said.
“We also know that when people come to the Surf Coast region for an event, they often return again purely for a holiday.”
According to the Surf Coast Shire, accommodation in Torquay was full with bookings extending along the coast and hinterland during the Great Ocean and Otway Classic, while cafes and restaurants were receiving a high volume of customers during the Surf Coast Trek.
“Registrations for the Great Ocean Road Running Festival to be held this coming weekend are strong,” Mr Salan said.
“The running festival results in multiple townships being fully booked out for several nights at time of year that would otherwise be very quiet.
“A significant amount of calendar management is undertaken to help minimise the impact of events as well as spread their benefit.
“It is hoped the ability of events to pull visitors to the Surf Coast region continues with future events such as Lorne Sculpture, Surf Coast Century and Surf Coast Trail Marathon.”