News

Million dollar tourist event

By Kimberley Price

BEHIND the music of the Riverboats Festival, the impact the event has on our twin towns is enormous.

Since its inception in 2012, the festival has made massive contributions to our local tourism and economic industries.

Echuca-Moama Tourism chief executive Kathryn Mackenzie said Riverboats had injected about $2.34 million into the regional economy every year since its inception, so a staggering $16.38 million since the event was established.

‘‘We’re incredibly proud of where this event has placed Echuca-Moama on the national stage, which in turn only further highlights Echuca-Moama as one of this country’s most exciting emerging music and cultural destinations,’’ she said.

‘‘This event brings visitors from all across the region and from Melbourne and interstate. It showcases one of Echuca’s gems — the Aquatic Reserve – one of the most unique settings for one of Echuca-Moama’s signature events.

‘‘The twin towns of Echuca-Moama take a great deal of pride in the event – sprucing up their retail outlets, putting in new retail window displays – ensuring they have sufficient staff to deliver the breakfasts and retail demand that comes with an event such as this.

‘‘It’s hard to quantify the event’s cultural impact on the region, but for a festival of a relatively boutique size, the calibre of artists who have now performed at Riverboats is truly phenomenal when compared to much larger events.’’

Riverboats festival director David Frazer and his team took immense pride in what the event did for our local community.

Working together with local people, the festival highlights and hires an array of businesses to make the weekend possible.

‘‘This has always been a tourist-focused event. It feeds the hotels and the motels, the campgrounds, the cafes, the restaurants and the pubs,’’ he said.

‘‘The demographic is different to a lot of other events the towns attract. It’s very much an inner-Melbourne crowd who are happy to spend money, happy to go out to breakfasts and really get behind the local businesses.

‘‘We know anecdotally from talking to the retailers and the restaurateurs that it’s a great weekend in that regard. We work really closely with some local businesses.

‘‘We’re so glad the benefits ripple right across the community.’’

Not only has the festival made a massive contribution to putting Echuca-Moama on the tourism and music map, it had also received national recognition for its work in the tourism industry.

‘‘We’re incredibly proud of where this event has placed Echuca-Moama on the national stage, which in turn only further highlights Echuca-Moama as one of this country’s most exciting emerging music and cultural destinations,” Kathryn said.

‘‘This profile of Echuca-Moama has been further enhanced by winning the 2017 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for Festival & Events; 2017 & 18 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards Festival and Events and has profiled Echuca-Moama as a leading Victorian events destination for boutique music events.’’

While the importance of spending money locally never falters, the Riverboats Music Festival certainly adds a great injection into our economy and tourism industry.

By doing so, it is paramount this festival continues to grow and create an exceptional snapshot of our region.