Greater Shepparton in Victoria is set for a huge turnaround for its events sector this year after suffering a series of setbacks over the last three years.
Greater Shepparton lost more than 12 key visitor events with an economic loss of around $6 million to $8 million during the double challenges of Covid restrictions and the floods in late 2022.
Some major events such as the Australian Football Skool’s Shepparton Cup and Victorian Country Week Tennis were cancelled, leaving a significant blow to local businesses and the visitor economy.
As the region continues to work through its recovery, events are now back on the calendar and the region, with Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Shane Sali saying he was pleased to see the region’s events industry back in action.
“The month of March has seen the region thrive once again, with every weekend filled with large scale events,” he said.
“Our accommodation providers have been fully booked on weekends, with visitors and people having to seek options in surrounding towns. It is great to see people travelling to our region to experience the events on offer.”
The month started with a variety of events over the long weekend, including the VACSAL Indigenous Basketball Tournament, Tour De Course, Victorian Gemkhana and the Welsh National Horse Show.
From a sporting perspective, the region also hosted the first Shepparton Gift running event in over 23 years, which saw visitors travel to Shepparton from all around the country.
“There has been a huge range of events on across the region on all weekends, with something for everyone,” Sali said. “It has been great to see.”
The region will welcome the new Melbourne to Move Rally this month, along with the return of the Illuminate Festival in early May.
The two day immersive light and laser show saw a record 19,000 attendees for the inaugural event last year, with visitors from around 167 different destinations helping build the region’s reputation as an emerging cultural destination.
From a new visitor event perspective the region will host two significant national cycling events in the AusCycling Junior and Master Road National Championships and the AusCycling BMX National Championships in September and October.
Sali said both of these events will be an impressive lead up as the region braces itself to be on the world stage as a host for cycling events at the 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games.
“These incredible events which our region is set to host are a great lead up to the upcoming 2026 Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“We are the regional events capital of Victoria and what has happened in March highlights what makes our region so special.”