Greater Bendigo scoops top awards at 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards
Greater Bendigo dominated the 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards with three golds, two silvers and two bronze at a ceremony in Melbourne last night.
The City of Greater Bendigo won gold in the Best Tourism Marketing and Campaigns category for its VIVA BENDIGO-themed campaign to promote the Australian-exclusive exhibition Elvis: Direct from Graceland at Bendigo Art Gallery.
VIVA BENDIGO complemented the blockbuster exhibition and encouraged visitors to stay longer, with more than 100 Elvis-themed events, activations, accommodation packages and experiences created by City staff and local businesses.
This is the third gold in this category for the City where a campaign has been themed to a blockbuster exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery. It also won for its 2016 Marilyn Monroe exhibition campaign and the 2019 Tudors to Windsors campaign. Both went on to win national awards.
Bendigo Visitor Centre won gold for the second time in a row in the Visitor Information Services category, in recognition of its consistent, high-quality customer service and face-to-face interaction with visitors.
Staff and volunteers at Bendigo Visitor Centre experienced their busiest year, helping over 58,000 visitors and supporting VIVA BENDIGO. They sold 1,848 VIVA BENDIGO accommodation packages, three times the amount sold during the 2016 Marilyn Monroe exhibition, and 1,175 tickets to special events and tours.
The City won silver in the Local Government Award for Tourism category. The award recognises excellence in tourism planning, the provision of tourism facilities and services, marketing, event development and management, and the overall contribution made both locally and overall to their State/Territory’s tourism industry.
Bendigo Tourism members were also recognised for their achievements over the past year.
The BIG4 Caravan Park Bendigo Marong Holiday Park won gold in the Caravan and Holiday Parks category, Balgownie Winery won silver in the Unique Accommodation category. Central Deborah Motel won bronze in the 4-4.5 Star Deluxe Accommodation category and a bronze award also went to Rambling Wine Tours in the New Tourism Business category.
Bendigo Art Gallery was a finalist for the Elvis: Direct from Graceland exhibition in the Major Festivals and Events category. The exhibition attracted 220,000 visitors, smashing box office records, and its economic impact on the region is estimated at $65M according to Victorian Government figures.
Mayor Andrea Metcalf, who attended the presentation, said it was a fantastic night for Greater Bendigo.
“It was incredible to see our city and region dominating so many prestigious awards. I am very proud of what the organisation, our local tourism industry and partners have achieved over the past year,” Cr Metcalf said.
“I congratulate the City’s Tourism and Major Events unit, Bendigo Visitor Centre and Galley staff, and units from across the organisation who’ve all played an important role in presenting our city and ensuring visitors have a memorable time. I also acknowledge our passionate local tourism, accommodation and hospitality industries that offer outstanding service and experiences.
“Our success at the awards is attributed to a huge collective effort, which has firmly established Bendigo’s reputation as a top tourist destination that continues to grow nationally and internationally.
"It is a wonderful outcome to win top awards at a state level and to be endorsed as leaders in promoting excellence in tourism.”
The winners of each category will now compete with other states and territories for a chance to be recognised as the best in the country at the Australian Tourism Awards next year.