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    Marc Sleeman, Grampians Tourism.

Plea to put out welcome mat to tourists


Grampians Tourism leader Marc Sleeman has spoken of the important role attractions such as Victorian country tennis championships in Horsham next month have in promoting the Wimmera.

Mr Sleeman agreed 2022 Tennis Victoria Inter-regional Country Championships represented an opportunity for Wimmera people to continue to step up as regional ambassadors.

He said ‘word-of-mouth’ had always been a powerful promotional tool and he encouraged people to tell visiting players, families and supporters about the positive aspects and attractions of the Wimmera.

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“These events can be real appetiser for visitors to get a taste of what a region has to offer,” he said.

“If visitors can say they have had a great experience they most likely will come back – perhaps for a holiday, perhaps to live. Local communities can play such an important role in being wonderful ambassadors for our region. 

“The concept just wins on so many levels in encouraging a circular economy.”

The tennis championships, featuring about 300 competitors from across regional Victoria, are from January 7 to 9.

The summer-holiday tournament at Horsham’s lawn courts features senior and junior teams and is likely to include several visiting families.

Mr Sleeman said his simple recommendation to Horsham people was to ensure they told visitors all about what the region had to offer.

“Reach out and embrace these visitors. Make them feel part of the community. Remember that we’re all ambassadors,” he said.

Wimmera Development Association executive director Chris Sounness had similar thoughts, adding that a Horsham Junior Country Week cricket tournament from January 3 to 7 would add to the inflow of people into the Wimmera after Christmas.

“We’ve had other significant sporting events such as volleyball championships leading into the summer break and they all add up in selling our part of the world,” he said.

“In the tourism economy people often think about spectacular attractions and of course the Wimmera has plenty of them. But Wimmera centres really benefit when communities come together from across Victoria and interstate for events.

“This is particularly valuable to traders providing services, meals, accommodation, retail opportunities and so on.

“The more people we get visiting Horsham and the region in general the more people come to realise it is a great place to visit and a great place to live.

“We definitely need to seize these opportunities to put out the welcome mat.

“Businesses and families have gone through a difficult 18 months and these events provide the first real signs of us getting back to a degree of normality and hopefully how it continues into 2022.”

The entire December 22, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire December 22, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!