The Batlow CiderFest has become a major flagship event for the Snowy Valleys Region and the hard-working committee is hoping to gather both professional and community input to plan for what’s next.
From a small start in 2012, it now attracts over 4,500 participants annually and has gained national and international recognition.
With the financial support of the NSW Government through Destination NSW it has been able to target markets over the last five years and build up a strong and extensive base of visitors.
In 2018 about 62% of visitors came from outside the Snowy Valleys local government area, with many travelling from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
“This success stems not just from an interest in cider but from the enthusiasm of the committee, volunteers, sponsors and Snowy Valleys Council,” co-founder Ray Billing said.
“An enthusiasm that brews an excitement and atmosphere our visitors are looking for.”
The event is now entering its third year of triennial funding from DNSW. The funding is designed to promote and develop events to a point where they can look after themselves.
“The Batlow CiderFest is a valuable vehicle in attracting tourism to our region,” Mr Billing said.
“Patrons spend well over $100 on average at the event and the many that stay overnight are spending much more,” he said.
“Research also indicates that many patrons return to investigate the region further. When the sums are done this equates to a huge boost to our accommodation and tourism support industries.
To ensure its longevity and continued contribution to local tourism, the Batlow CiderFest committee has organised long-range strategic planning sessions on Monday, August 20.
There will be a choice of two sessions and both will be held in the Batlow RSL dining room.
Session 1: 1.30pm to 3pm
Session 2: 7.pm 8.30pm
The committee has contracted the Albury Business Enterprise Centre to facilitate the meetings and help in preparing the plan.
They are keen to have stakeholders, including volunteers, sponsors and those wishing to become partners in this growing event come along and be involved.
Mr Billing made it clear the meeting is not an AGM, which will be held at a later date.
“The committee is very interested in innovative ideas and partnerships that can extend the event past its current structure and increase the total number of visitor overnight stays in the region,” Mr Billing said.
“It is also keen to explore ways of maintaining its current strong volunteer support base, and in further developing financial, managerial and promotional sustainability.”
Next week a full report highlighting the success of the 2018 Batlow CiderFest will be published in this paper. The report will give statistics and other information needed by those that would like to be involved in elevating this event to even higher levels.
To register and for further information please call Ray Billing on 0412 539535 or send an email to [email protected]