Passport aims to entice tourists

The Passport is available through The Middle of Everywhere app. Photo: Tom Parry

A new tourism initiative has been launched to bring visitors back to Gippsland following long periods of travel restrictions.

The Local Tourist Passport will provide discounts on accommodation services and tourist attractions for visitors to the Wellington Shire.

Central Gippsland Tourism president Shaun Lennard is advocating for the initiative, believing it will allow the industry to bounce back.

“Restrictions crippled our tourism operators from all sectors, food and beverage, attractions and accommodation,” Mr Leonard said.

“The ‘Local Tourism Passport’ campaign is all about getting behind our tourism sector and helping these local communities, businesses and families get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

There is hope that the Passport will tap into the “Visiting Friends and Relatives” tourist demographic, which is slowly growing after two years of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Mansi on Raymond manager and Central Gippsland Tourism vice-president Josh Singh said that the segment was “very much” growing.

“Particularly over your busy periods – take Easter, and Christmas time – that’s when most families get together,” Mr Singh said.

“That market is definitely there, and it tends to keep growing, that’s for sure.”

Mansi on Raymond manager Josh Singh is looking forward to welcoming tourists back. Photo: Tom Parry

Mansi is just one local business taking advantage of the initiative, offering a “Stay Three, Pay Two” deal for visitors who show their Local Tourist Passport.

As its name implies, the deal will allow guests to stay three nights in a room for the price of two nights’ accommodation.

The Passport has benefits for Wellington Shire residents too, allowing free or discounted access to local attractions provided they are accompanied with a full-fee paying visitor.

Port of Sale Heritage Cruises operator, Alan Lewis has offered any local a free ticket for one of his daily cruises when making a purchase with, or on behalf of, a visitor from outside the Shire.

Mr Lewis said that the campaign is a fantastic opportunity for locals to support local business while showcasing how beautiful their own backyard is.

“It has been a very difficult couple of years for us all where customer numbers were dramatically impacted or in some cases, reduced to zero,” Mr Lewis said

“It will be fantastic to see the Rubeena at capacity again, with as many smiling faces as possible.”

To take advantage of the Passport, residents and tourists will need to download the Middle of Everywhere App onto their smartphones, then hit the link on the landing page.

More information is available via the official website: themiddleofeverywhere.com.au

Alan Lewis stands next to the Rubeena.
Photo: Stefan Bradley