SOUTH-WEST towns along the route of last year’s Great Victorian Bike Ride (GVBR) look set to reap the benefits for the next 12 months.
The ride passed through the region in November last year stopping in towns including Nelson, Port Fairy and Port Campbell as the 5000 riders snaked their way from Mount Gambier to Geelong.
Results of an online survey of 500 participants of last year’s ride indicated 77 per cent would like to return to towns they visited on the ride “in the next year”, according to Bicycle Network Victoria chief executive officer Craig Richards.
Mr Richards said Port Fairy was rated the “most favourite” town, closely followed by Port Campbell. Gellibrand was rated the most welcoming, followed by Birregurra.
Sharon Parker, from the Port Fairy Visitor Information Centre, said she had a man in this week who had returned to the town for the folk festival after visiting on the GVBR.
“I asked him if he wanted a map and he said he didn’t need one because he had been here for the Great Victorian Bike Ride and had decided to come back for the festival,” she said.
“That was the first person I’ve had who said they had done the bike ride, but there are 26 volunteers that work here, so I’m sure they would have had some as well.
“We do get a lot of repeat visits. I think people realise how charming Port Fairy is when they first visit and keep coming back.”
Mr Richards said last year’s ride was estimated to have boosted the economy of the region to the tune of $2 million.
He said return visits would bring further economic benefits and showed the riders appreciated the amount of work townships put in to welcoming them.
“All communities throughout the ride worked hard to showcase their towns and provide activities for the riders,” Mr Richards said.
“Without the help, support and efforts of the local councils, community groups, tourism operators and businesses, the ride could not have been so successful.”