USA — Strong interest in accommodation promises a busy Easter weekend for tourism operators in bushfire-affected regional Victoria.
Visitor information centres in Gippsland, Beechworth and Healesville have had a steady stream of inquiries from visitors tempted by the regions’ usual attractions such as wineries and by special Easter festivities.
Destination Gippsland chief executive Terry Robinson said operators were emerging from a lean period caused by the bushfires and needed a strong Easter and school holidays to aid their recovery.
Mr Robinson said some areas, such as Wilsons Promontory and the Gippsland Lakes, had reported strong accommodation bookings but there is still vacancies in surrounding areas of South Gippsland.
“Gippsland is a huge area and it’s far from a full house.
He said Wilsons Promontory is fully open, and tour companies offering activities such as hiking, surfing and canoeing are hoping for business.
There is still accommodation in the Yarra Valley, which has a special program of events for the holiday, highlighted by a Missy Higgins concert at Rochford Winery on Sunday.
Easter festivals, egg hunts, art shows, markets and special dining deals are also set to draw day trippers from Melbourne.
Beechworth, which has its annual Golden Horseshoes Festival over Easter, is expected to be packed this weekend.
Tourism and Major Events Minister Tim Holding said the response to support areas affected by the bushfires has been amazing.
“Whether you want to stay for a week or visit for a day, there are plenty of events and activities during the Easter break.”