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23 September 2020
By DEAN LAWSON
A Grampians tourism leader expecting a surge of visitors in the region has stressed a need for people to continue to observe COVID-safe guidelines.
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said it was critical that visitors, holidaymakers and business owners and staff worked hard at maintaining a safe environment.
“It is important to get through this regional reopening stage without fear of everyone going back into lockdown,” he said.
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“We’re all working hard with state and local governments and businesses are well aware of rules and regulations. It is really important we get this right and it is really important the community is involved in the process.
“Early signs from business operators are that we can expect an extremely busy holiday period. The past week has been crazy in terms of inquiries. From what we’re seeing it looks like our visitor economy is back on track for a recovery.”
Mr Sleeman said the easing of regional restrictions came at a perfect time for people keen to experience the Grampians.
“What a perfect time to open up the Grampians and regional Victoria generally,” he said.
“The national park abounds with wildflowers and waterfalls are flowing. Spring is a wonderful time for our regional neighbours as well as our own communities to enjoy the Grampians and embrace the beauty of the area while supporting the local tourism industry and jobs.”
Mr Sleeman acknowledged how ‘financially and mentally’ difficult 2020 had been for businesses across the region.
He also congratulated business owners in how they had confronted lockdown circumstances.
“They have done great work to adapt, pivot, hibernate and survive through this pandemic. They have done a great job in preparing for reopening and adhering to strict COVID guidelines to keep staff, visitors and local communities safe,” he said.
Mr Sleeman said people should be aware that while Grampians National Park was open for visitors, camping grounds in the national park remained closed.
“The Grampians region provides a wide range of accommodation options, from deluxe cabins to glamping and traditional camping and there is a selection for everyone,” he said.
“With COVID restrictions easing for regional Victoria and school holidays happening, we have experienced an increased demand, so I would check with accommodation providers for availability.”
Mr Sleeman said Grampians Tourism had reactivated its regional marketing campaign and would continue to target markets including Ballarat, Warrnambool and Bendigo areas.
He also encouraged people from across the Wimmera, Mallee and Western District to explore ‘their own backyards’.
Mr Sleeman made his observations as national travel advisory group Traveller announced the iconic outlook from the Grampians’ Boroka Lookout as one of the best 10 views in Australia.
The entire September 23, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!