TOURISTS to the Wimmera are spending less money in the region, despite an increase in visitor numbers.
New figures from the state government show $440 million was spent in the Grampians region between April 2018 and March 2019, which is down from $459 million the year before.
Visitors doing daytrips to the region spent an average of $92 a day, which was down from $107 last year and $121 in 2014.
However, the number of visitors to the region has increased by an average of 6.9 per cent each year for the past decade.
More than 1.1 million people visited the region last year, which was an increase of 14.9 per cent on the year before.
Wimmera Mallee Tourism chairman and Hindmarsh mayor Ron Ismay said the money coming into the region was the most vital part of tourism.
"It's all about the foreign dollars - we can't survive on our local community because there is not enough people left," he said.
"We need people spending their money as they go through our towns in order to keep our economy going.
"The supermarket, butchers and hotels need that extra cash coming in from out of town."
Cr Ismay said it was good to see more tourists visiting the region, but more could still be done to increase the number of visitors.
"The silo art trail has been a good contributor and there are a few events happening at the moment that bring extra people in, but I really believe we can do a lot more," he said. "We've started some work with digital technology, which will allow people to use their phones more to find things."
Cr Ismay said Wimmera Mallee Tourism was also working to expand the silo art trail.
He said in order to increase tourism, it was important people in the region were open to change.
He said many businesses in small towns didn't open on weekends, which made it difficult to attract spending.
"However, these are family businesses - they can't take time off during the week and no one wants to work seven days a week," he said.
Business Horsham tourism representative Andrea Cross said tourists to the region supported businesses economically.
"Tourism makes our businesses more sustainable and gives them a much needed boost," she said.
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