Visitor numbers to one city drawcard surged past pre-pandemic levels on the school holidays while the return of whales signalled it was business as usual again for the city.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum's village and night show saw a combined 3585 visitors, up on 3364 in 2019 and 2675 in 2018.
Warrnambool's Visitor Information Centre also fielded 7750 inquiries between June 24 and July 9.
Mayor Vicki Jellie said the school holiday boom gave businesses a welcome boost.
"Just walking around the city, you could tell that things had really picked up from a tourism perspective," Cr Vicki said.
"There were lots of people around which is great for Warrnambool.
"The past week especially has been fantastic for whale watching. We've seen mothers and their calves close to the shoreline not just at Logans Beach but in the bay itself, and as you'd expect, this is a major drawcard for locals and visitors.
"When looking at Flagstaff Hill visitation, we saw a return to pre-pandemic levels and that is definitely the feeling from the businesses I've spoken to.
"Things seem to be getting back to normal, but a shortage of workers is still an issue."
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She said a recent tourism campaign was working to keep visitors in the region through winter.
"Council contributes to Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism, who lead the development, marketing, advocacy and management of tourism for our region," Cr Jellie said.
"Their recently launched Greatopia campaign is currently running to help encourage more tourism in our region during the winter months by highlighting our world-renowned natural assets.
"Each week during the school holidays there were more than 40 events listed online, many sponsored or supported financially by Council, to create a well-rounded winter event calendar under the 'Your Winter Guide to Warrnambool' banner."
She said while increased visitation brought with it an important cash injection, it was important safety measures remained in place.
"While COVID-19 doesn't seem to be impacting most people's travel plans anymore, unless they have to cancel because of a positive case, COVID is still active in the community and still poses a health risk," Cr Jellie said.
"With this in mind, if you're not up to date with your COVID boosters, please contact your GP or pharmacist, and don't forget your flu shot too."
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