BOWLS Victoria, together with Latrobe City Council, last week announced a landmark five-year agreement for the staging of the Victorian Open, commencing March 2023.
Thousands of bowlers of all abilities, together with clubmates, friends and family, will
converge on the Gippsland region from March 24 to April 2 next year, for what is widely recognised as the largest bowls event in the state, and second nationally only to the Australian Open.
The event will inject millions of dollars into the local and broader Latrobe community.
The Latrobe/Gippsland region will offer bowlers a range of different surfaces to bowl on, at a time of year when the greens will be at their best. The region has abundant accommodation options to suit all budgets and requirements, with many tourism options for participants and their families to immerse themselves in when not bowling.
Reflecting on the new agreement, Bowls Victoria chief executive Tony Sherwill said it was an incredibly exciting opportunity.
“Not only will the Vic Open be moving to a new home, but the event will be bigger and better than ever before, with several new initiatives being introduced by our team, together with input from Latrobe City Council, Destination Gippsland, local clubs, and community groups,” he said.
“We are excited about the future potential and opportunities the event presents for the region and the broader community”.
An increased prize pool of more than $100,000 will be up for grabs, with the Victorian Open offering bowlers the chance to compete in several disciplines including singles, pairs, mixed pairs, and triples. Open to bowlers of all abilities and levels, the Victorian Open is a world-class event that will be hosted at approximately 18 venues across the Gippsland region, over a nine-day period, with greens being at their optimum in the region in late March.
“Latrobe City Council is proud to partner with Bowls Victoria to become the home of the Victorian Open for the next five years,” Latrobe City Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan said.
“As the largest bowls event in Victoria, it will bring significant and long-term benefits to our community, facilitate greater participation in the sport and inject millions of dollars into our local economy.
“We can’t wait to welcome this world-class event to our city next March, further cementing our role as the home of major events in the Gippsland region”.
When considering the move to the Latrobe Valley, Bowls Victoria general manager of commercial operations Andrew Haug said the passion of the local bowls community shone through.
“The opportunity to turn our future vision into reality would not have been made possible were it not for each of the stakeholders involved,” he said.
“We are sincerely grateful to Traralgon and Morwell Bowling Clubs, together with Latrobe City Council, Destination Gippsland and the state government of Victoria, all of whom really understood our vision for the future of this beloved event right from the outset.
“We are excited to showcase our sport and the region to bowlers and spectators from all over the country for the next five years”.
The Victorian Open, now in its 11th year, began in Shepparton and has evolved to see great success and participation since its inception, growing to become a much-loved event.