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Mice Net : February 2009
regional victoria victoria rises to regional challenge story By Graeme Kemlo There’s no shorTage of business events product in regional Victoria, as graeme Kemlo uncovered recently. progressive drop in domestic travel, cost of oil and implications of climate change. But Victoria’s share of international visitors is at a 15 year high (29 per cent), and the Brumby government is turning its attention to “regional destination development” in a $13.8 million move that will directly benefit the provincial business events sector. Apart from a $13.3 million campaign to sell Victoria domestically, $8 million is being invested in marketing to North America, Europe, South Asia plus the emerging China and India – a safe bet considering this segment already generates $3.4 billion in business income for the state. Not that Victoria is starved of meetings facilities one to two hour’s drive from the CBD. But as part of a 10 year plan to expand the tourism sector to an $18 billion industry, employing 225,000 people by 2016, Victoria also earmarked a further $650,000 to fill gaps in tourism products and to develop skills in the 10 regions. I Spa capitalisation Its “jigsaw” ad campaign has consistently boosted “Brand Victoria”, building multiple regional images, notably as a destination for quality food and wine, events, shopping and theatre. Now the campaign is to be extended, and among the first to benefit will be the Macedon Ranges spa and wellbeing market. Home to the largest concentration of mineral springs in Australia it is intent on claiming the national spa capital mantle. In particular the n a just-released report, Victoria’s tourism sector has laid out its immediate challenges: the global financial crisis, destabilisation of the world economy, significant decline in Australia’s dollar, village of Daylesford, 108 kilometres north-west and 90 minutes’ drive from the CBD, will receive millions of dollars in national marketing. Since the 1800s Daylesford has attracted visitors, including Swiss Italian miners who came to “take the healing waters”. Five minutes away is Hepburn Springs where $10.6 million in government and private investment has seen the iconic but outdated Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse transformed late last year into a luxury world- class day spa, while retaining heritage features dating back to 1895. A popular destination for board retreats and small-midsize corporate events, the district boasts some of the most luxurious accommodation and facilities outside any capital city, not to mention more than 85 distinct spa treatments available locally. Evidence of the town’s European roots is a proud 144-year-old, Villa Parma, the elegant two-storey Italian mansion transformed internally into a luxury self-contained heritage-listed four-bedroom villa, sleeping up to eight. All rooms have ensuites and the villa offers a full kitchen, lounge and private garden with hot tub, sauna, even outdoor dining pavilion. Since it is located in the grounds of Peppers Springs Retreat & Spa, full wine, food and spa service is just a short stroll away. Peppers Springs is an art deco hotel, circa 1935, with 30 rooms and luxury villas accommodating 51 delegates. The separate three-room conference facility for up to 60 sits beside topiary gardens where delegates may be encouraged to try tai chi after breakfast. Perfect for an incentive group or small conference it has a range of break-out areas, a highly rated restaurant, Deco, and a multi-million dollar day spa with guest lounge, 11 dual treatment rooms and bathing area fitted with the latest in European pampering: dual hydrotherapy baths with 180 mice.net 153