Region open for business following fires

From left, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula, Destination Gippsland chair Sue Smethurst and Cannibal Creek Vineyard owner Kirsten Hardiker at the new tourism campaign launch on Thursday. 191492_07.

By Jessica Anstice

A new tourism campaign was launched at Cannibal Creek Vineyard in Tynong North on Thursday.

The campaign will encourage visitors to choose Gippsland for their next day trip, overnight visit or longer stay, as the community continues to manage ongoing fires and the recovery effort.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula visited the Tynong North winery to present the new tourism brand for Gippsland- GIPPS all kinds of wonder LAND.

“Gippsland has faced many challenges including bushfires over summer and it’s vital that we give them all the support we can,” Mr Pakula said.

“It is important that through these times that government and all Victorians are able to get behind impacted communities, not just with our finances but with our efforts and our advocacy.

“Despite some of the recent challenges which are indeed ongoing, the large majority of Gippsland is in-fact unaffected by fire and it’s still welcoming visitors.”

During his visit to Tynong North, Mr Pakula dropped by Tallawarra Homestead in Tonimbuk to chat with owners Andrey and Janine Lebkowski.

“They could not be more positive despite the fact that they’ve been closed for a few days and won’t reopen until the end of March,” Mr Pakula said.

“They are unbelievably positive about this region and about the future.

“There are so many great experiences waiting to be discovered in Gippsland. That’s why we’re investing in this new campaign to showcase all that the region has to offer.”

The State Government is investing $3.2 million to help Destination Gippsland promote the region and provide visitors with more opportunities to explore all that the region has to offer.

The campaign led by Visit Victoria and Destination Gippsland, will showcase the region’s hidden attractions, food and wine experiences and lesser known areas from historic towns and lush vineyards to pristine beaches and alpine forests.

“The campaign is fantastic because our winery is located just at the gateway to Gippsland,” Cannibal Creek Vineyard owner Kirsten Hardiker said.

“This campaign will encourage people to visit our region and remind them that it is safe to visit most of Gippsland following the recent fires.

“We’ve been underrated as a region so it’s time to get the message out.”

The campaign will build on the success of Visit Victoria’s Your Happy Space and Wander Victoria campaigns.

The Gippsland region welcomed 5.4 million visitors in the year ending September 2018, who spent $907 million in the region.

“Gippsland is in my very humble opinion, the untapped jewel in the Victorian tourism crowd,” Destination Gippsland chair Sue Smethurst said.

“But it’s no secret that Gippsland has been suffering recently. Mother Nature hasn’t been particularly kind this last summer and the recent months.

“Rolling fires across the region and severe drought have rightfully impacted the narrative of Gippsland and it has had a devastating and immediate impact on thousands of small businesses that are the backbone of our regional economy.”

Ms Smethurst said, “The campaign will be a significant step towards ensuring that it is Mother Nature’s best, not her worst.

“It is the biggest brand campaign for Gippsland in more than a decade.”

The GIPPS all kinds of wonder LAND campaign will launch in April 2019 and continue through until June 2020.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.