The Wimmera will make a bid for a bigger slice of the domestic tourism market as COVID-19 restrictions ease by promoting the hidden wonders of an area that is a "holiday for the times".
The "Unearth Amazing" campaign will leverage the popularity of the Silo Art Trail to get travellers to stop and slow down in the Wimmera and southern Mallee.
It will also tap into the Grampian Tourism's strategy to get people from the Wimmera to invite "friends and family" to the area, with the tourism dollar boosting local businesses.
Wimmera Development Association executive director Chris Sounness said that while the Wimmera wasn't as "in your face" as some nearby areas, it was a great place to spend quiet time to reflect after the past three months of COVID-19 stresses.
"There is a subtlety about it," Mr Sounness said. "There's a lot more here. It's all soil driven and rainfall interacting with the landscape."
The wide-open spaces, "big sky" and delicate beauty of the Wimmera landscape could provide people with a chance to regroup after the COVID-19 lockdown.
"It's a holiday for the times," he said. "People are looking for space. I think that's what is going on. They will enjoy it."
A day-two drive around the area - possibly tacked onto a trip to the Grampians - would open up the possibilities for repeat visits.
"We'll be leveraging heavily off other similar campaigns and tapping into social media to unearth amazing places that people might not know about," he said.
The popularly of the Silo Art Trail has already opened up the area to new visitors.
Work on the Albacutya Silo Art will begin soon, helping to connect the east and west parts of the art trail, along with Lake Tyrrell. The immersive experience will be boosted by some silos having augmented reality.
The Wimmera River Discovery Trail, based at the northern part of the Wimmera River, will provide walking and cycling paths near Dimboola and will ready in late 2021. The project will cost $1.2 million and cover 61 kilometres between Dimboola and Jeparit, with the ultimate aim extend the trail to Lake Albacutya.
The Harrow Keeper of Indigenous Cricket is in the planning stages and will recognise a part of Wimmera indigenous sporting history.
The "Unearth Amazing" TV and social media campaign, which launched on June 14, marked the end of a four-year journey to attract visitors championed by the Wimmera Southern Mallee Tourism Collaboration and Destination Management Plan project.
The project was initiated by Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnerships and is managed by the Wimmera Development Association.
Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnerships chairman David Jochinke said the campaign came at an important time.
"When was the last time you explored your own backyard?" Mr Jochinke said.
"Our region offers many wonderful experiences and this campaign encourages local people to unearth the amazing that lies within the Wimmera and southern Mallee.
"When they share those amazing experiences with their family and friends, it has flow-on benefits for communities and businesses, and creates more tourism opportunities long-term. That's a win for everyone.
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Check out www.visitwimmeramallee.com.au for more information on Unearth Amazing, including road trip itineraries.
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