BALLARAT has claimed the Grace Kelly blockbuster at Bendigo Art Gallery did not make “that much difference” to our tourist visits.
Quoting Australian Bureau of Statistics data released last week, Ballarat Regional Tourism director George Sossi said figures for the March quarter, measuring nights spent in accommodation with more than 15 rooms, showed Ballarat’s numbers are only five per cent lower than Bendigo’s.
“Given all the hype Bendigo had with Grace Kelly, there’s not that much difference … and having a major exhibition that attracted 150,000 people, we’re doing quite well (in comparison),” Mr Sossi told the Ballarat Courier.
However, the ABS figures collated numbers for January, February and March: the Grace Kelly exhibition opened on March 11 and ran until June 17.
The figures show there are 34 establishments in Bendigo Loddon district with more than 15 rooms, employing 424 people. Ballarat has 28 establishments, with 925 rooms, employing 338 people.
In the March quarter, visitors spent 45,073 nights in those establishments in Ballarat, while in Bendigo, the total was 48,630 nights.
The average stay in Ballarat was 1.8 nights: in Bendigo it was 1.7.
The average cost of a room in Ballarat was $66.45; in Bendigo $72.40.Even counting only the first three weeks of Grace Kelly, guest arrivals in Bendigo exceeded those of Ballarat by more than 10,000 across the March quarter.