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Heathcote tourism grant a boost for region

Heathcote-based tourism will receive a major boost thanks to a Victorian Government grant for a Heathcote tourism action plan.

MONIQUE PRESTON February 6, 2013 4:23am

Heathcote Tourism and Development president Wayne McKay, City of Greater Bendigo councillor Rod Campbell and Member for Rodney Paul Weller are pleased with a Victorian Government grant for a Heathcote Tourism Action Plan.

Tourism in Heathcote received a boost last week with the announcement of a $30,000 grant to develop a tourism-based action plan that would help make the region more recognisable to tourists.

In announcing the grant, Member for Rodney Paul Weller said one of the aims of the plan was to create an identifiable Heathcote tourism brand that could be easily recognised by visitors.

He said the Victorian Government funded the plan as developing Heathcote’s growing culinary reputation was a key priority.

‘‘The plan will help market the natural attributes of Heathcote to both Victorian and interstate visitors,’’ Mr Weller said.

‘‘The idea is also for the project to attract further investment in the local hospitality industry, leading to better infrastructure and more jobs for the area,’’ Mr Weller said.

‘‘More visitors to Heathcote will drive employment prospects and career opportunities,’’ he said.

‘‘Heathcote has a proud history as a top wine producing region, boasting 25 wineries and 70 vineyards and the government has recognised the support needed to market the town as a key tourism destination for food and wine lovers,’’ Mr Weller said.

‘‘More and more people are visiting the area, as is evident at the very popular Heathcote Food and Wine Festival each year,’’ he said.

Heathcote Tourism and Development president Wayne McKay said the grant would give the group a plan in going forward with tourism in the town.

‘‘We need a framework that covers a number of years,’’ he said.

Mr McKay said it was hoped to plan would not only help with promoting tourism — including wineries and accommodation — but also help with the development of the region by up-skilling people in the local tourism industry.

City of Greater Bendigo councillor Rod Campbell said he was pleased the Heathcote Tourism and Development Group had received help to formulate a plan for the future of tourism in the region.

‘‘Council works in conjunction with the group to improve outcomes in the area,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s important to have a strategy to improve things. It will be a key way to make sure it is done in a logical and orderly manner.’’

Mr Weller said he was thrilled to deliver on a 2010 election commitment to drive tourism in the region.

The project will be developed under the State Government’s Developing Stronger Regions program — a component of the $1billion Regional Growth Fund.

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