Tourism growth push

Michelle Slater

Latrobe City Council is calling for community members to jump on board a new committee to lure big ticket events to the region and get more visitors to stay longer and spend more.

Latrobe is revamping a new tourism and major events advisory committee with a focus on major events and cross promotion.

Prospective committee members would read over event proposals and make recommendations to council about these proposals and how to best promote the area.

Latrobe city development general manager Gail Gatt said a key focus would be to develop a tourism and events strategy with goals and objectives to increase growth, destination profiles and civic pride.

She said the new committee would also be encouraged to develop partnerships to help cross-promote events and encourage people to spend money in the region.

“We need to work with Baw Baw and Wellington shires as well. Good partnerships are vitally important and it works both ways,” Ms Gatt said.

“These are some of the things we need to get smarter about – how we promote and inject new ideas.”

Ms Gatt said council wanted to draw leverage out of last years’ successful sister city and Morwell Rose Garden festivals.

“We had strong community support for these festivals, and one of the things that came out of this was a sense of community-connectedness to have a festival in people’s backyard,” Ms Gatt said.

“It gives people a connection to their town.”

Latrobe’s visitor economy is worth $75 million and the city attracts 1.1 million visitors a year. Last year the council ran 18 major events and 512 community-based events.

Ms Gatt said many of these big ticket items were sports-focussed including visits from the Collingwood Football Club and the Big Bash cricket series.

“We hope to continue to support sporting events but to also build on not-so-traditional sports, and not just sports but the cultural side,” she said.

“It would depend on what proposals came in but it could include industrial tourism. With the closure of Hazelwood and the mine rehabilitation there are opportunities for environment festivals.”

Ms Gatt invited anyone from the local community with a range of skills and passion to fill the six vacancies on the tourism and major events committee.

Expressions of interest close on January 29.

For more information, email