THE south-west economy will receive a multi-million- dollar boost this weekend as tourists flock to the region for special events and holidays.
An expanded Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic, Seaside Basketball Carnival and a two-day motocross event are features of a busy three-day calendar luring competitors and fans from afar.
The Classic alone brought an estimated $3.5 million to the region last year.
Great Ocean Road Tourism Board chairman Wayne Kayler-Thomson said the Australia Day long weekend was traditionally one of the busiest.
He said forecast warm weather would also bring people to the beach for another taste of summer.
“We expect the coast will be really busy all weekend,” he said. “It’s traditionally a busy weekend that provides a boost for local operators and businesses.”
Warrnambool City Council tourism services manager Peter Abbott said events like the Classic and the basketball carnival provided an extra boost to the city.
“The sporting events put bums in beds that’s for sure,” Mr Abbott said.
“You only have to walk down the street to see the increase in fantastic, bright speedway-supporter shirts.
“Speedway supporters and the basketball players spend hundreds of dollars in the town over the weekend, so it has a flow-on effect.”
The Mortlake Muster today and tomorrow, Koroit truck show today and Robert Burns concert at Camperdown this afternoon are also part of the region’s drawcards, along with Australia Day celebrations in all municipalities tomorrow.
Mr Abbott said there was still accommodation available on the city’s online booking service visitwarrnambool.com.au
He said the March long weekend was also shaping up to be busy.
“This year we will have the state nippers title and the Port Fairy Folk Festival, so it’s going to be another good boost,” he said.