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    Marc Sleeman, Grampians Tourism.

Grampians tourism campaign a finalist

A tourism promotion that called on people to encourage friends and family living beyond the region to visit Grampians National Park and surrounding communities is up for a major award.

Grampians Tourism is a nomination for Victorian Tourism Awards for its ‘Host with the Most’ campaign.

Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said the promotion, launched in December 2020 and running until March 2021, had been a major success.

“It was at a time when metropolitan Melbourne was coming out of a tough lockdown period and represented the first green shoots of people tentatively moving again,” he said. “It gave us an opportunity to put our local community at the centre of being ambassadors for the region.

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“It helped our community understand what’s in their own back yard and really encouraged visitor dispersal across the region. 

“It helped support businesses that needed support and will ultimately lead to long-term benefits continuing year on year.”

Grampians Tourism partnered with Horsham, Northern Grampians and Ararat municipal councils for the Host with the Most promotion.

The concept was designed to help stimulate the regional economy and help consolidate the Grampians as a popular visitor destination.

A primary aim was to help the regional tourism industry recover from the impact of closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Estimates are the tourism industry annually contributes more than $540-million to the regional economy.

‘Host with the Most’ encouraged people across the region to become ‘hosts’ by inviting visitors to explore some of the Grampians’ attractions, cultural expeditions, culinary experiences and scenery. 

People who signed up to become hosts had access to special offers, guides and invitations to send to friends and relatives. The project involved redeeming ‘passports’ from participating business operators and people could collect stamps to win holiday prizes.

Mr Sleeman said the project led to people expressing pride in their communities.

“It was about getting metropolitan visitors back into the market, but also encouraged communities to experience what they had at their own doorstep,” he said.

“We saw a 35 percent increase via our website of visitation from within the region. And with the involvement of locals we had an increase in visitor knowledge about the region.”

Mr Sleeman said he was happy for the organisation to be simply nominated as a finalist.

“I think everyone in the industry getting through the past 12 months deserves a medal,” he said.

“Applications closed at the end of June and we normally only find out finalists on the night of the awards. The awards are usually in November but were postponed.”

The tourism awards will be at Melbourne Town Hall on February 3.

Other award finalists in the Grampians tourism region are holiday-experience provider Grampians Peaks Walking Company and accommodation provider Golton in the Gap.

The entire December 15, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!