Warrnambool's Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs has been named as the starting point for a proposed state-wide bathing trail.
The Great Victorian Bathing Trail - a blueprint for a Victorian hot springs and bathing tourism strategy highlights opportunities within the growing nature-based tourism experiences.
Director of Deep Blue Gene Seabrook hopes his venue can continue bringing tourism to the Warrnambool area, especially after the opening of 'The Sanctuary' at the start of November.
"As the first hot springs hotel in Victoria, we aim to re-establish Warrnambool as a key bathing destination," he said.
"By creating the Hot Springs Sanctuary we hope to help encourage the physical and emotional well-being of our community as well as provide a high-quality tourism experience for visitors to Victoria and the Great Ocean Road region."
The strategy reveals for the 2018/19 financial year, Deep Blue's combined Day Spa, Bath House, accommodation and restaurant projected revenue was over $10 million. Approximately 33,000 people visited the venue over the year with 40 per cent of those being tourists.
The Great Victorian Bathing Trail also highlights potential opportunities to engage other south-west tourist destinations including Budj Bim and Logan's Beach Whale Nursery as well as engage collaborations such as culturally-safe design or spa treatments incorporating traditional Indigenous knowledge.
Mr Seabrook said by the positioning of Deep Blue as a key tourism draw card presents opportunities for the city in attracting increased visitation and longer average stays and development within the tourism industry.
"The Blueprint provides a strong platform to highlight our established Hot Springs facilities with opportunities to take a cooperative promotional approach to attract national and international visitors to Victoria and Warrnambool," he said.
"Wellness Tourism is a strong economic growth driver and is seeing more than double the annual growth of tourism overall on a global scale.
"Traditionally Warrnambool has been championed as a family destination with a strong emphasis on 'peak' season's and now we are offering an experience that will drive visitation to the Warrnambool all year round.
"Our promotional plan has a strong emphasis on showcasing Warrnambool as a key part of our experience in coupling hot springs with other nature based, food and wine, walking and cycling trails and more experiences."
The Great Victorian Bathing Trail was produced by Peninsula Hot Springs' and the 2018 recipient of Victoria Tourism Industry Council's (VTIC) Lynette Bergin tourism award; Matt Sykes over 12 months from August 2018.
The 2030 vision for the Great Victorian Bathing Trail is to create 'an iconic, world-class tourism trail linking hot springs and bathing tourism destinations along Victoria's southern coastline, from Portland to Merrimbula, around Port Phillip Bay and even up into the Yarra River'.
The report states Victoria is uniquely positioned to define itself as the nation's 'hot springs state,' boasting subsurface geothermal water right along its southern coastline.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani is delight in the report and it looking forward to its development.
"The Great Victorian Bathing Trail is a perfect example of what we are calling for," she said.
"This unique offering is exactly what Victoria needs to remain competitive and a cut above the rest.
"The plethora of geothermal springs in Victoria creates a truly unique selling point globally for our state and positions Victoria prominently among countries around the world that are focusing on this lucrative and growing sector."
The Great Victorian Bathing Trail begins at the Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Spring and includes the proposed Twelve Apostles Hot Springs near Port Campbell, the established Peninsula Hot Springs on the Mornington Peninsula, the under construction Phillip Island Hot Springs and Saltwater Baths, the proposed Nunduk Hot Springs Resort in Seacombe, and Metung on the Gippsland Lakes where Peninsula Hot Springs is developing a hot springs wellness hotel and bathing marina.
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