Yarrawonga Mulwala and the Sun Country area showed further growth in domestic overnight and day trip visitors, generating more than $322 million into the region in the past year.
The latest tourism figures for the Sun Country area were released in the Murray Regional Tourism Travel to the Murray quarterly report ending September 2017 revealing additional positive signs for the greater region.
The report reveals the Sun Country region received 20.1% of domestic daytrips out of the entirety of the Murray region, a share up by 4.7% compared to the year ending September 2016.
The report also stated domestic daytrip visitors spent $81 million in the region with an average of $140 per visitor.
Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism Executive Officer Noel Wright said it was fantastic to see in writing the growing popularity of the Sun Country region including Yarrawonga Mulwala.
“Tourism product in Yarrawonga Mulwala is improving every year,” Mr Wright said.
“The introduction of Aqua Zone has attracted large day tripper crowds over the past summer and this one as well.
“Moira Shire’s kids splash park is another attraction for day trippers. Lake tours – Paradise Queen and the Cumberoona all add to the Yarrawonga Mulwala experience.
“The Lake Mulwala Interpretive Signage project is another piece of tourism product that has contributed to the increased demand for Yarrawonga Mulwala. The communities need to continue to embrace new product.”
Events are also a major drawcard to the area in both peak and off-peak times Mr Wright said and is paving the way for Yarrawonga’s mark on the map.
“Events like the Lake Mulwala Rod Run, Triathlon, Yarrawonga Kids Festival, EC Griffiths Cup and Country Week Tennis all sourced and secured by tourism outside of our peak tourism periods encourage day trippers to our community and while these visitors have a positive experience they will revisit,” Mr Wright said.
“Tourism’s event focus has been to attract events to maximize economic impact outside of the peak period and the strategy is about increasing visitations and taking advantage of the corresponding economic impact from the event when the community needs it most.
“We are trying to take the financial troughs out of the year providing business greater certainty and confidence when assessing investment decisions.”
Further works and renovations to the twin cities clubs and biggest businesses also ensure continued visitation from tourists looking for somewhere away from the big smoke.
“The continual development and investment growth at Silverwoods, the three Clubs, Moira Shire’s Lake front work and the Yarrawonga Holiday Park Splash Park/Units just to name a few, all contributes to improving the experience for holiday makers,” Mr Wright said.
“Natural population growth coupled with great visitor numbers provides business with the confidence to invest and while confidence in the product that is ‘Yarrawonga Mulwala’ remains high the investment will continue.”
The domestic overnight travel also showed good numbers with Sun Country receiving 553,000 overnight visitors up by 64,000 on year ending September 2016.
The region furthermore received 20.2% of visitors and 22.8% of nights in the Murray region.
Compared to the year ending September 2016, the share of visitors was up by 1.6% and the share of nights stayed was up by 3.3%.
Visitation by friends or relatives was the most popular accommodation type for nights stayed in the region with visitors staying on average 3.1 nights.
65-year old’s and over were the biggest overnight visitors to the area followed by 55 to 64 years and these visitors spent $214 million in the region with an average of $124 per night.
The report also showed positive signs for the Sun Country with some of the areas other counterparts in Echuca Moama and Albury Wodonga staying stagnant in their visitor numbers whilst Sun Country’s moved forward in leaps and bounds.
“Yarrawonga Mulwala has experienced significant population growth over the past decade as previous visitors commit to living in our region,” Mr Wright said.
Another contributor to tourism growth in the Sun Country area including Yarrawonga Mulwala is the growth in Melbourne.
The northern side of Melbourne continues to grow with countless housing developments in various stages of completion and the proximity of these developments to Yarrawonga Mulwala assists with visitations to the Murray.
“Yarrawonga Mulwala is not as mature, from a tourism perspective, as Albury Wodonga and Echuca Moama but we are catching up quickly.
“The lake gives us an advantage over other Murray River towns, however, we need to continue to continually add tourism product, source and secure events and lobby investors thereby creating an environment conducive to the investment required to maintain and support the continued growth in tourism numbers in the coming years.”
Moira Shire General Manager Sally Rice said marketing efforts from local businesses and events were the biggest contributor to visitor numbers being up and should continue to attract people to revisit the Sun Country area.
“The drop experienced in Year Ending 2016 may have been an ongoing result of the blue green algae infestation of Lake Mulwala and the Murray River, the lowering of Lake Mulwala and the floods in the summer of 2016/17,” Ms Rice said.
“The increase seen in year ending 2017 would be attributed to marketing efforts and new tourism products such as AquaZone and various high-profile events including the Food Truck Festival, the Sun Country Food and Wine Festival and Rod Run.
“Marketing efforts at a local, regional and state level to push travel from Melbourne into the Murray and specifically Sun Country events again continue to play a role in addition to the new tourism products stated previously.
“Marketing efforts such as the Farm Gate Trail, Raft the Murray, The Urban List have increased our awareness footprint.”
Ms Rice agreed with Mr Wright’s comments about the area experiencing significant population growth and the hope that this trend continues for many years to come.
“We are in an exciting stage of the ‘destination life cycle’ where we are experiencing growth and attracting new markets to our area,” Ms. Rice said.
“With our newly adopted Visitor Services Strategy we hope to continue this growth trend into the future by reaching and servicing even more visitors.”