THIS YEAR’S Heathcote on Show was a ‘‘huge’’ success and contributed $750,000 into the region’s economy during the three days of the event, according to the number crunchers at the Regional Sustainable Development Unit of the City of Greater Bendigo.
Participant survey reports showed a 57 per cent increase in visits to wine cellar doors, with a 64 per cent increase in sales and a 30 per cent increase in the average spend.
These increases corresponded with the use of the shuttle bus services run from the Visitor Information Centre and the northern bus route, which was filled to capacity over the weekend.
Visitor statistics were also on the increase – The Visitor Information Centre recorded an increase of 8.5 per cent on 2016 and it is estimated 5,000 visitors sampled the offerings over the Heathcote on Show weekend.
More people visited the region, stayed longer, visited more cellar doors and 90 per cent plan to come back to the region within six months.
Peter Maine, president of Heathcote Tourism and Development Inc, paid tribute to the small but dedicated volunteer sub-committee who work eight months of the year in planning and fine tuning the event.
‘‘The annual Heathcote on Show and other planned events on the drawing board continue to make Heathcote an attractive place to visit,’’ he said.
Mr Maine also said that the town was going through an exciting period of infrastructure development – the expansion and redevelopment of Gaffney’s Bakery, the building of a new 24-hour service station and convenience store, the opening soon of a new restaurant, redevelopment and additional accommodation at the Heathcote Country Lodge site, the opening of a fitness centre, feasibility studies into the construction of a world class dementia village, establishment of child care facilities and early years services, new housing developments and homes under construction.
He said these activities were all indicators of the growing attraction of Heathcote and the region for visitors and residents alike.