Global campaign supported

COUNCILS have thrown their support behind Walhalla’s international tourism campaign to help keep the township “on the map”.

Baw Baw Shire has pledged $2700 and Latrobe City $1800.

Walhalla and Mountain Rivers Tourism Association president Michael Leaney said the money would go to maintaining Walhalla’s inclusion in the Sydney Melbourne Coastal Drive, a ticket to the Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney and appointments at Corroboree Europe in Cairns. Mr Leaney said the association began the international campaign 14 years ago and international tourists made up 10 to 15 per cent of all Walhalla’s visitors.

He said it was crucial the township remained on the radar of global travel agencies by attending these events.

“Our main markets are Europe and the United Kingdom… Netherlands, Scandinavia and Germany,” Mr Leaney said.

“That’s primarily because they are doing the Sydney Melbourne Coastal Drive and Walhalla has been promoted for a long time as a key stop on that drive.

“Our fear was if Walhalla wasn’t include we would literally drop off the map.”

He said at the ATE travel buyers from around the world come to Australia and meet with members of the Australian travel industry, while Cooroboree Europe was a familiarisation and training event for about 380 “Aussie specialist agents” from across Europe and the UK, with whom town and hotel representatives book five minute appointments.

Mr Leaney said the tourism association had paid for its own expenses since they began the international campaign, but this year needed help because of a recent drop in local tourists.

Baw Baw Shire councillor Debbie Brown said council was impressed Walhalla and Mountain Rivers was recognised internationally.

“Walhalla and the Mountain Rivers system is the only international commodity that we have in our shire so I see that as very important that we protect,” Cr Brown said.