After two years of being impacted by COVID-19, businesses in the Grampians region have received a welcome tourism boost over the festive period.
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said businesses have been "thriving again" in recent months.
"The area has had a successful festive period with both regional and metro Victorians back in the Grampians," he said.
"The numbers we have had have exceeded previous years.
"It shows the strength in the brand that we have got in those markets."
Mr Sleeman said Melbournians have been visiting the region in higher numbers due to the change of scenery.
"We are still seeing that our market is looking for that place to explore and escape and I think people are looking for those open spaces and places to breathe," he said.
"The Grampians provide a place to breathe with plenty of open spaces, that is why the area is so appealing."
Mr Sleeman revealed the national visitor data for the year ending in September 2021 saw a 25% increase in nights spent in the region.
"Even on the back of 2020, 2021 has been solid and we see that continuing through 2022 and beyond," he said.
"The forward projections for the destination are really strong."
Grampians Estate Cellar Door manager Kyra McNaughton said business has picked up for the Great Western winery.
"Business over the Christmas period has changed dramatically for the better from where we were two months ago," she said.
"With Melbourne residents being let out, that is a big part of our customer range.
"The last month has been pretty hectic with people buying coffee, purchasing wine and partaking in tastings which has been huge for us.
"Lots of meals too which is good for us, obviously because of COVID-19 we needed to scale back our menu and limit what we do."
Ms McNaughton said Grampians Estate had escaped COVID-19 staffing issues, with cases rising in the region.
"We have been pretty lucky, we have only had one or two incidents, nothing major, no staff members have tested positive, which is great," she said.
"Now we are open to full capacity, which is awesome; staff love it."
Friends of J Ward secretary Sandra Ferguson said business is booming for the popular tourist attraction.
"The tours are back on at J Ward on Wednesday's and Sunday's, it is great to be up and running again," she said.
"The tours have been really good lately; we are booked out most days.
"We have been super busy which has been a welcomed change from the last two years."
Mrs Ferguson said the tours are great because customers can experience what the town has to offer while visiting.
"Volunteering at J Ward is great because I get to meet a lot of people within the community and out of town," she said.
"I think because people from Melbourne can get out now they are coming into town and staying and going through J Ward and Aradale."
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