THE verdict from the peak summer tourist season is a resounding thumbs-up from local councils.
Moyne Shire has reported good visitor numbers to the Port Fairy Visitor Information Centre and strong bookings at council-run caravan parks across the shire during the first three weeks of 2014.
Warrnambool City was still collating data yesterday, but tourism services manager Peter Abbott said so far it appears to have been a “very good summer”.
Mr Abbott said bushfires in the Grampians region may have brought some campers south to the beach.
“We’ve experienced that in previous years when an area is affected by fire,” he said.
Moyne Shire’s manager of corporate business Mitchell Rowe said Port Fairy’s two council-run caravan parks, Southcombe Park and Gardens Caravan Park, were “chock-a-block” between December 26 and January 18.
He said the council’s four other caravan parks had also been busy.
“Killarney and Yambuk were all full during the first two weeks of the new year while Mortlake and Koroit also experienced strong booking during that time,” Mr Rowe said
“We had 12,000 people in Port Fairy on New Year’s Eve for the Moyneyana street parade, so that gives an indication of just how many people were in town over that period.
“We were also averaging 550 to 600 visits to the Port Fairy Visitor information Centre a day, making all sort of inquiries, from accommodation through to fishing charters and bike hire.”
Mr Rowe said bookings had also remained strong in the week leading up to Australia Day.
“In the past we’ve seen a sizeable drop-off from about the 18th of January,” he said.
“But this year it appears people have stayed around until the long weekend.
“By all reports it’s been busier this summer compared to last year.”
Mr Rowe said he was very happy with visitor numbers across the shire.
“As a shire, our job is to get people to come into the Moyne region, and I think we’ve done an excellent job this summer and over the last 12 months,” he said.
“Last year, we had a record number of visitors to the Port Fairy Visitor Information Centre, with more than 75,000 people passing through the door.”