A western Victorian podcast production house is preparing to grow its output of local stories, after receiving a $20,000 grant.
Storytowns, based in Hamilton, was one of 40 organisations nationwide to receive money from the AMP Foundation's Tomorrow Fund, awarded annually to people who are doing great things in their communities.
The company has created multi-episode series focusing on towns surrounding the Grampians and along the Silo Art Trail, as part of partnerships with local tourism bodies to drive visitors to the region once COVID-19 restrictions ease sufficiently.
Found Jarrod Pickford said the pandemic had inadvertently helped Storytowns' cause.
"Now we're climbing out of it, regional areas are desperate to get economies flowing again," he said. "We've been talking with shires and tourism bodies about the best way to go forward, and we have a plan for every little town and historical gem to have its own little audio guide."
Mr Pickford said residents want to put their town on the podcast map could contact Storytowns directly, and that there had been an influx of requests from Dimboola recently.
He said the company planned to promote its Grampians and Wimmera offerings more widely to coincide with the border between Melbourne and regional Victoria lifting on November 9.
"In the first weekend of the Grampian Way tour, we had 2000 downloads in two days, and there's been between 80 and 100 listens already on each Silo Art podcast," he said.
"We've had about 10,000 downloads overall and we haven't even pushed that yet, but the state government through Visit Victoria is going to help us promote the art trail, because just being up there the towns are so excited to have tourism return."
A survey for 1052 Australians by YouGov and Toyota Australia in September found half of Victorians are looking forward to travelling once restrictions lift, and almost a third want to support their local communities and regional towns.
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