ARARAT - The annual Grampians Tourism conference was conducted at Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre.
The theme of the conference was Grow your tourism future and speakers included champion aerial skier Jacqui Cooper delivering the motivational presentation, Adam Hamilton on digital marketing and Tourism Victoria's Lindsay Goding on international markets including China.
Ararat Rural City Council tourism and community information manager, Julie Kilpatrick said Grampians Tourism introduced the concept of a region-wide Online Strategy.
"Upon reflection of stakeholder and industry feedback, Grampians Tourism proposes that the 2013-14 financial period will be used to educate, communicate and engage industry and key stakeholders in order to develop a holistic approach to solving the online solution for the Grampians region," she said.
"Grampians Tourism will use these base funds to attract further investment from state government to engage a project development manager to complete the process. The Online Strategy aims to better position the Grampians in the digital marketplace and provide a further opportunity for destinations and individual operators to convert visitation."
Ms Kilpatrick also reported to council that visitors spend approximately $175 million in the Grampians region annually. This generates a direct and indirect economic impact of nearly $224 million.
"Tourism is a vital industry to the sustainability and economic growth of our region," she said.
The Grampians region as a whole received 742,000 domestic overnight visitors - up by 15.8 per cent on the year ending March 2012. Visitors spent over two million nights in the region - up by 30.2 per cent on the year ending March 2012. The Grampians region received 37,100 international overnight visitors - up by 31.9 per cent on the year ending March 2012.