Great Ocean Road towns listed among Victoria’s best
FOUR Great Ocean Road towns have been listed as finalists in the inaugural awards recognising the best of regional tourism.
Victoria’s Top Tourism Town Awards is the new creation from the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) set to celebrate the ultimate holiday experiences offered throughout regional destinations.
Among the 16 finalists are Aireys Inlet, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy and Timboon which are all vying for the top prize.
VTIC chief executive Felicia Mariani said the awards will showcase regional Victoria as the tourism industry continues to bounce back.
“After a year of being in and out of lockdown, Victorians have developed a real love affair with the beautiful destinations in their own backyard,” Ms Mariani 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.”
The Small Tourism Town Award is designed for popular destinations with an ordinary population below 5,000 people.
The winning town will receive $10,000 of airtime with Prime 7 and will proceed to the nationals for a chance to be titled Australia’s Top Tourism Town.
Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism general manager Liz Price said the four towns have been recognised for their hard work in creating quality visitor experiences.
“Part of this award is to create optimism in the industry and remind us what we are proud of,” she said.
“The domestic market has never been more competitive so any sort of additional opportunity to promote yourself is a good thing.”
Ms Price says the Great Ocean Road is moving into the quiet season where towns will begin to feel the loss of international travellers.
“Typically, international travellers make up one million nights, so that is a lot of nights to make up for,” she said.
To continue to support tourism-based towns, Ms Price is encouraging people to go and “see Australia with their visitor eyes”.
“You might think you live locally but have you ever been to Live Wire Park, have you been skydiving, taken a helicopter ride over the coast, when was the last time you walked Erskine Falls or gone to Wildlife Wonder?,” she said.
“There is so many things you don’t traditionally do because you think it is in your backyard, but we have such rich products if we go out and explore.”
The winner of the Top Tourism Town Award will be decided on by the public with voting now open until May 27.
“We’re calling on every Victorian to cast their vote and show their support for our domestic tourism industry,” Ms Mariani said.
“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.”