Traders support Tourism plan.

The Bendigo Business Council supports plans to develop Bendigo’s “night-time” economy and build a luxury hotel in the CBD to cater for tourists, CEO Leah Sertori says.

But as those plans come to fruition, Mr Sertori said, business owners should be helped to transition to late-night trading and given information about the kind of experience tourists to Bendigo are seeking.

“The business council would say that we strongly support the recommendations and also the time frame,” she said of the plans laid out in the Bendigo Regional Destination Management Plan.

“But we would strongly urge the state and local government to support small and medium enterprises … shifting to trading well into the night.”

The document identifies the development of the city’s night-time economy – including extended trading hours and investment in bars and events – as a priority.

Building a branded 4.5-5-star hotel, also a priority, is described as something that would complement the growing business sector and tourist market.

Ms Sertori said such a venue would provide good access to the city’s assets, such as the Ulumbarra Theatre, the Town Hall and the Cathedral, especially for those people travelling in groups.

“Bendigo is the capital city of northwest Victorian tourism … and groups do like to stay together,” she said.

“Sharing some market research with small businesses around people who are coming – their needs and interests and what sort of services they would be likely to seek out” – would benefit traders, she said.

The tourism plan, Ms Sertori added, had been well informed as a result of good engagement with the industry.

“The only gap in the strategy, where it is a bit light on, is opportunity for international tourism,” she said.

Packaged experiences of Australia were readily available for foreign tourists who visited Queensland. But so far no coordinated, one-stop approach to selling the central Victorian goldfields as a tourist destination had  been developed, Ms Sertori said.

Council’s agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting focuses on the importance of continuing to develop accommodation options, “particularly reinvestment in existing motel stock”.

Encouraging people to stay overnight rather than just come to Bendigo for the day needed to be a strong focus for the region, the document adds.


This article courtesy of the Bendigo Advertiser