THE Great Ocean Road region remains Victoria's dominant regional tourism drawcard with record numbers of domestic and international visitors last year.
Tourism pumped an estimated $1.9 billion into the region's economy with an estimated 23 million visitors enjoying the iconic coastal attractions.
Nominal expenditure by an estimated 186,000 international visitors rose 41 per cent to $119m over overnight stays - double the overall growth for regional Victoria..
Domestic tourism expenditure along the ocean route region jumped 22 per cent to $1.79b.
The Grampians regional also experienced a tourism surge last year with a 32.5 per cent surge in domestic tourism expenditure and a 12 per cent rise in international overnight visitor numbers.
Numbers are expected to be even higher this year with indications so far that the currency exchange has made trips Down Under more affordable and also persuaded more Aussies to holiday in their homeland rather than fly overseas.
Taiwan and mainland China continued to be a major growth market for the ocean road and other parts of Victoria, with visitors from the world's most populous nation spending $1.4 billion in the state and representing 27.4 per cent of the overseas visitor expenditure.
Last year China came in at number five of overseas nations visiting the coastal area with nine per cent of the total international visitors behind the UK topping the list at 16 per cent, followed by New Zealand and Germany at 11 per cent and the US on nine per cent.
According to Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism chief executive Liz Price, Chinese are increasingly becoming a bigger slice of the pie with more organising their own itineraries and hiring cars rather than the usual one-day bus tours from Melbourne to the Twelve Apostles.
"We are seeing more come through to Warrnambool, Tower Hill and Port Fairy as well as more domestic visitors," she said.
"The region can expect a substantial increase in tourism revenue."
Survey figures released this month (June) by Tourism Research Australia show Victoria had 2.1 million international visitors last year - up by 8.9 per cent on 2013 and outperformed New South Wales and Queensland in growth since 2008.
They spent a total of $5b for the year with education trips accounting for the biggest slice ahead of holidays, visiting friends/family and business.
The survey also said there were an estimated 5.6 million domestic day trippers last year to the Great Ocean Road - up 17.7 per cent and three million overnighters - up 16 per cent.
Overnighters spent an estimated $1.27b - up 21.8 per cent while day trippers pumped in an estimated $519 million - up 22.4 per cent.
The Grampians had one million domestic day trippers - up 16.8 per cent and 809,000 overnighters - up 7.2 per cent who spent a combined $420m.
Survey results for last year included interviews conducted via mobile phones for the first time, reflecting the increasing trend of households without landlines.