AN INFLUX of sporting and tourism events at the weekend mean almost every motel room in Horsham is booked.
With Horsham Amateur Basketball Association’s Junior Classic and Natimuk and District Gymnastic Club’s annual invitational event starting on Saturday, hundreds of junior athletes and their families will visit Horsham.
The basketball association’s vice-president Nicole Lakin said more teams had registered for the competition than initially expected.
“I think last year we had nearly up to $300,000 getting spent across the two days – especially in the hospitality side of it, motels, food and general shopping, too,” she said.
“A lot of towns have really supported us this year and we have teams coming from Shepparton, who haven’t had a team play here for many years.”
Horsham Rural City Council’s business development and tourism co-ordinator Chris McClure said the influx of visitors would benefit the region’s economy.
“The challenge with sport participation is that they are here for their nominated sport, so they don’t resonate with too much other messaging in terms of trying to get them back to visit,” he said.
“At the same time, they will eat out at the cafes and restaurants and if they see our friendly and warm shopkeepers and get good service, that says to them that this is a cosmopolitan city with plenty of services for these visitors.”
The Horsham German Fest is another drawcard on Saturday, while some Wimmera residents will travel south to the Dunkeld races.
“We have the volleyball tournament and Kanamaroo the following weekend, so November is busy,” Mr McClure said.
“It is pleasing and in general a number of the motels do very well with business reps during the week and normally it’s the weekend that is their quieter times. This fills them up on the weekends when they would normally be quieter.
“The Dunkeld races is very popular with the younger people, and we support our neighbours, too.”
Hindmarsh Shire Council’s tourism officer Jeff Woodward said event tourism was vital for the region.
“Event tourism is anything that attracts people from outside the region, and that is bringing in visitor income,” he said.
“There have been a number of reports that looks at the value of the waterways in our area. The river going through Dimboola and Jeparit is a major drawcard – whether it is through formalised events or just people going at any time of the year.”