Victoria’s High Country has experienced a 40 per cent rise in cyclists touring the region in just 12 months, cementing the North East as one of the world’s top trail cycling destinations.
Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes today visited the High Country and celebrated an extra 40,000 cyclists flocking to the region in the past year as the Andrews Labor Government’s $12 million North East Cycling Optimisation Project took hold.
The first year of the project shows that the region is on track to double cycling visitors – to 200,000 a year – by 2022, driven by a $4 million marketing campaign to highlight the region’s renowned cycling routes and scenery.
The campaign included a blitz with billboards across Melbourne, an airport advertising takeover and targeted television promotions throughout the Tour de France in July.
The 10-year vision is to maximise the appeal of cycling throughout the High Country – creating world-class experiences that take full advantage of the natural beauty of the area – to drive growth in the local economy and create jobs.
In total, cycling tourism contributed $81 million to the region’s visitor economy last year – an increase of $31 million in the 12 months.
The High Country boasts the two longest off-road rail trails in Victoria – the Great Victorian Rail Trail and Murray to Mountains Rail Trail – which run through stunning countryside and connect with towns including Yea, Mansfield, Wangaratta, Rutherglen, Beechworth, Myrtleford and Bright.
The High Country Rail Trail runs from Wodonga and follows along the shores of Lake Hume to Old Tallangatta.
Tourism is vitally important to the High Country, the area hosting 3.9 million domestic and international visitors who spent an estimated $1.3 billion in the year to June.
For more information on High Country cycling, visit ridehighcountry.com.au.
As stated by Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes
“These figures show that our investment is well and truly paying off – bringing more people to this incredible cycling destination and spending more tourist dollars in the beautiful North East.”
“This exciting project is cementing the North East as one of the world’s top destinations for trail cycling – boosting tourism, growing jobs and supporting our regional economy.”