Two south-west destinations have taken out gold and silver in Victoria's Top Tourism Towns Awards in what one pleased mayor describes as a major boon for the region after a pandemic bust.
Port Fairy won gold for the second year in a row and will go on to compete at the national level in the coming months while Timboon also took silver.
The awards - an initiative of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council - were announced at the RACV Healesville Country Club and Resort on Wednesday night.
The towns trumped 16 other finalists which were nominated by 19,000 votes.
The criteria for the award was based on efforts to increase visitation to the destination, visitor experience and its partnerships with tourism operators and businesses.
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Moyne Shire mayor Ian Smith said he was thrilled and the win came down to a variety of attractive factors.
"It was a fantastic result for Moyne Shire to go back-to-back two years running," he said.
"It's a reward for the work the teams and businesses in Port Fairy and the surrounding region have put in.
"We got silver last year in the nationals so it would be nice to go for gold. It's a great result for everybody associated with tourism.
"The quality of the businesses and the livability of the town ticks all the boxes."
Corangamite Shire mayor Ruth Gstrein said the award was a reflection of the hard work of tourism operators.
"We're delighted, we're absolutely thrilled," she said.
"Gold would have been nice but we're certainly not turning our noses up at a silver award. These guys did a great job in promoting Timboon."
She said she expected the award to boost visitor numbers to lesser-known parts of the shire.
"We hope this encourages people to come and visit Timboon," Cr Gstrein said.
"There's always people coming to visit the coast and we use that to try and pull people inland.
"The volcanic lakes and plains, the artisan food trail as well is fantastic ... there's a lot to do and I think not only for visitors but even the locals."
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