Bike ride to boost tourism

Tourism boost: South Gippsland Shire Council acting tourism co-ordinator, Danielle Todaro, president of the Mirboo North Cricket Club, Ang Cannizzo and Bicycle Network Victoria events manager, Darren Allen discuss the opportunities and benefits the ride could bring.

THE 29th annual Great Victorian Bike Ride will wind its way through Gippsland this year, with an overnight stop planned for Mirboo North.
With a possible 5000 entrants, plus support staff, the stop-over could prove to be a large economic boost for the small town.
Up to $170,000 could be spent in the town in a single day.
A preliminary planning meeting was held at the Walter Tuck Recreation Reserve in Mirboo North last Tuesday.
Presented by Adam Renn and Darren Allen from Bicycle Network Victoria, and South Gippsland Shire Council, the meeting was aimed at promoting the ride to the town and to get the ball rolling with planning for the event.
Danielle Todaro, council’s acting tourism co-ordinator, said the meeting was aimed at creating awareness of the ride and the opportunities it can bring to town.
“It was a starting point, a meeting aimed at informing the community about the bike ride, and how they can become involved,” Ms Todaro said.
“We will convene again several times throughout the planning process.
“Council will work with the community to go through ideas and formulate a working committee.
“It was great to see a lot of interest and enthusiasm form the town at the meeting. It is an opportunity for people to get involved, build relationships and to help the exposure of Mirboo North.”
Council has contributed financially to the ride.
“It is a chance to showcase Mirboo North and the South Gippsland region, and encourage repeat visitation as a key outcome,” Ms Todaro said.
Statistics from the last Gippsland ride in 2007 showed 77 per cent of riders surveyed were likely to re-visit an area, and almost 40 per cent said they would bring three or more people with them.
The ride will start in Lakes Entrance on Saturday, November 24, and over nine days, work its way through to Phillip Island.
The ride will stop in Mirboo North between days seven and eight of the ride.
One major benefit of Mirboo North’s position on the ride is that it will receive extra riders who start the ride on day seven, possibly boosting numbers by 300 to 600.
Darren Allen, events manager for Bicycle Network Victoria, shared ideas about effective activities and entertainment the town could provide to the visitors, even on a limited budget.
“If the town gives the riders something to look at, or something to do, something to buy, activities, something to hold their attention, they will start spending money,” he said.
“The one thing I would really like you to take away from this is you don’t have to spend big money to get their attention and to entertain them, to get them to spend their money.
“It can be really simple, but  effective.”
On average, each person on the ride spends $35 a day when on a stopover.
With the possible headcount getting up around the 5000 mark, this could mean over $170,000 spent in the town in one day.
“We encourage the whole community to get behind the event and have regular meetings to discuss progress and ideas,” Mr Allen said.
“It will be a great opportunity for the town to showcase what it has on offer, what is unique about the town, why people are proud to live there and what the town stands for.”
John Zabiegala, from the Strzelecki Newsagency in Mirboo North said that although they hadn’t thought too much about what they will do when the riders come through the town, he knew they would be welcomed.
“We will put signs up and welcome them in to the town,” Mr Zabiegala said.
“When people are in town, sales do grow so we will expect a financial benefit from the visit.
“Hopefully the event drives local tourism and we can get some of them to come back once the ride is over.”
Vincenza and Doug Alexander, from Cafe Escargot in Mirboo North, attended the meeting and were interested in the possibilities the ride might pose for their business.
“Our business is a tourist destination,” Mrs Alexander said.
“We are hoping that a shuttle bus can bring people down and then pick them up. We have a licensed restaurant and guided tours that we hope will attract visitors.
“It should bring a lot of exposure to the town; it is an untapped tourist area.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=3240

Posted by on Apr 26 2012. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Recently Commented

  • wstaton: I guess it means he will not be able to attend any council meetings saving us ratepayers his claims for...
  • rojo: Awesome work Lynette
  • vbresident: I read Ms Page’s offering and nearly choked laughing. We have a property on the second estate in...
  • brad: Hi Robbie. Would you like your comments to run as a letter to the editor too? If so, we just need your full...
  • robbiemc: The local council should not be wasting ratepayers money to build a rail trail. And more to the point there...