‘Friends and relatives’ market’ vital to Ballarat’s tourism recovery

The latest visitation statistics released by Tourism Research Australia have shown for the first time the year-on-year impact of COVID-19 on the visitor economy in Ballarat. The numbers are clear, Ballarat’s recovery lies in Ballarat locals inviting their friends and relatives to visit.

Ballarat’s tourism sector experienced strong numbers in December 2020, January, and March 2021, according to the latest Tourism Research Australia figures.

Both the City of Ballarat and Ballarat Regional Tourism (BRT) stressed the importance of the visiting friends and relatives’ market to local tourism recovery.

BRT Chair Paul Martino said: “Given the limited travel opportunities interstate, it’s a great opportunity for Ballarat residents to invite their friends and relatives to Ballarat, and what better time than now during our magical Ballarat Winter Festival.”

City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Daniel Moloney said it was important we all invited our friends and relatives to come to Ballarat and visit our local attractions, and to enjoy eating and drinking at our hospitality venues.

“Ballarat’s tourism recovery lies in the hands of locals inviting friends and relatives to town,” Cr Moloney said.

“Invite your family and friends to rug up and visit Ballarat for a jam-packed calendar of winter events, including the renowned Winter Festival.

Further, the Spring calendar of events in Ballarat is already lining up to be incredibly strong with Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Royal South Street with some more exciting announcements expected soon.

The Tourism Research Australia data also shows:

• Overall visitation to Ballarat year on year is down around 50 per cent for overnight total visitation and total nights, with COVID-19 impacting heavily on these statistics

• December 2020 (12 per cent) and January 2021 (19 per cent) represented strong months for visitation during the period since March 2020 as does March 2021 (16.6%)

• Visiting family and relatives (40 per cent) is a very important sector for domestic overnight travel to the City of Ballarat.

• Melbourne was the largest source tourism market, followed by regional Victoria

• A friend’s or relative’s property was the most popular accommodation type

• Visitors stayed on average 2.3 nights

• Daytrip visitors were down by 32.7 per cent year on year, also impacted by COVID-19

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