By Aaron Langmaid,
April 12, 2011
VICTORIA'S flood-devastated north will reap the benefits of this year's Stawell Gift with more than $10 million expected to be injected into the region in one weekend.
Organisers are confident the Easter event will serve as a vital boost for the tourism and hospitality market driven to the edge since the summer floods.
Locals will cash in with one month's trading in less than five days, thanks to a combination of the carnival, a horse race meeting and a neighbouring food and wine festival.
Northern Grampians Shire chief executive Justine Linley said it couldn't come fast enough for retailers.
"In previous years, the event has attracted about $5 million in revenue for the region but that's a figure we expect will be more than doubled this time around," Ms Linley said.
Central Park Motel co-owner Colin Brate said the gift was needed more than ever before.
"In terms of business value for locals, this event is priceless," he said. "Tourism has been very bad this year, it wasn't a great summer with the floods."
The Gift Hotel owner Tony Molan said the combination of the gift and the horse racing brought thousands of visitors to Stawell with run-on benefits for neighbouring towns.
The Stawell Gift runs from April 22 to 26.