Wimmera tourism a changing market

A CAMPAIGN highlighting the best of the Wimmera Mallee was launched this week featuring three videos, aiming to boost tourism in the region. 

Warracknabeal advertising agency Aubrey and Areegra, in association with Wimmera Mallee Tourism, Wimmera Development Association and Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership launched their social media campaign which encourages more people to visit the region. 

The video campaign called “Unearth Amazing” draws on the unique attributes of the Wimmera Mallee like the vast open landscapes of farming land and the star lit night sky. 

Each 45 second clip, created by Aubrey and Areegra founders Karen Inkster and Kate Liersch uses a slightly different concept to target three main demographics.

Mrs Inkster said they rose to the challenge when told “good luck out there, it’s dry, brown and dead”. 

“Rather than trying to crop angles to make it look green and lush, that’s not what the Wimmera is, so we’re trying to embrace it,” Mrs Inkster said. 

“The one thing we wanted was to work with the night sky, because the night sky of the Wimmera Mallee really does take your breath away. When we have friends over we always try to have fire and peer out at the open sky.” 

The first video called “Family” features a family of three doing iconic activities like sand tobogganing in the Wyperfield National Park.  

The second video called “Road Trip” taps into a younger market, whereby they have featured a couple travelling through the region, showcasing wide angle and landscape shots.

Mrs Liersch said this video tries to relate to the millennials market, whereby they utilise the concept of sharing new experiences on social media. 

“We thought about the young travellers seeking those ‘instagramable’ moments. The kind of experiences that are unique and where they can take the photos for social media and have that sort of social currency of having a unique experience of going places people haven’t been before,” Mrs Liersch said.  

The final video called “Weekend Escape” targets an international audience, where they have filmed Warracknabeal residents Wendy Liu and Doctor Donald Liu, enjoying a day out at the Halls Gap Zoo. 

Mrs Liersch said they are finding more international travellers are visiting Lake Tyrell, but missing all the other landmarks in between. 

“International travellers are travelling to Lake Tyrell at Sea lake and they tend to just visit Sea Lake and go back to Melbourne or Adelaide. We wanted to encourage them to travel more out into the region, so using the Silo Art Trail as impetus for them to travel down.” 

The Silo Art Trail was conceived in 2016 after the success of the first silo artwork in Brim.

Wimmera Mallee Tourism Executive Officer Lauren McBriarty said levels of tourism have been increasing gradually each year, since the trail first started. 

She said the aim of this campaign is to get people out of the major cities and visiting the rural and regional communities. 

“Its aiming to get people from Melbourne and Adelaide out into our region and so they’re going to see the highlights of the region and go across and see the Silo Art Trail,” Ms McBriarty said.    

“Before, It was a very quiet area, it’s all about agriculture. The main focus was on farming, production and manufacturing.

“Now tourism is slowly starting to get to that level, with 600 visitors a month and $300, 000 going straight back into the towns. We’re trying to support the agriculture industry. 

“Whether it’s restaurants, pubs, petrol stations, they’re the people who are benefitting.” 

Former Yarriambiack Shire Mayor Ray Kingston was one of the people who got behind the Silo Art Trail from its beginnings. 

He said seeing this campaign get off the ground is a positive sign for the region. 

“I’m excited to see how this will roll out on social media, it’s targeting a big market here. I think they nailed this concept,” Mr Kingston said. 

“To me the silo’s are the hook - It’s a really authentic place to visit. 

“I think we have our dramatic natural attributes such as our beautiful star lit skies, and our sweeping planes. Which isn’t the same as the Grampians, or the great Ocean Road, it’s a little bit subtle than that.

“I’ve always lived here and I’ve always known there is something special about where I live, but it’s nice to see people coming from outside of here and appreciating it with their own eyes and perceptions. If you don’t tell your story, then no one will know.” 

Wimmera Development Association Project Officer Mark Fletcher said through this project they were trying to create a stronger link between Grampians Tourism and Wimmera Mallee Tourism. 

He said better synergy between the groups will  improve tourism prospects. 

“One of the outcomes is a little bit more collaboration between Grampians Tourism and Wimmera Mallee tourism, so we can have more cross promotion,” Mr Fletcher said. 

“If the region is to work together there’s more possibility for Grampians suggesting tours up into this area and vice versa. Getting people through the region, we need to be connecting places like the Grampians, Wimmera, Murray and the Lime stone coast.” 

He said this will assist in expanding to a larger audience. 

“How do you get the message out to such a wide audience? The more networks you’re involved in the more that message gets out there,” he said.