CRESWICK Woollen Mills will use a $500,000 Victorian Government grant to boost visitor numbers to the popular international tourist destination.
Creswick Woollen Mills is the last coloured woollen spinning mill of its kind in Australia and markets alpaca, cashmere, wool and possum garments. It will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year.
The mill last week hosted Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford and Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard, who announced a $500,000 grant from the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund at the Creswick Woollen Mills’ soon-to-be upgraded site.
The company will use the grant to enhance the experience for Asian visitors through a designated welcome area for tour groups, an upgraded animal viewing area, more translated material and a café showcasing local produce.
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The Victorian Government said visitor feedback indicated people wanted more opportunities to spend time with the alpacas at the mill site, the option to buy food and coffee, and more ways to interact with the experience for people who spoke languages other than English.
By improving the visitor experience to meet the identified demand, the project aims to create 12 local jobs and increase the number of visitors to the mill by 30 percent within four years.
The project will also benefit the local community as the mill conducts a range of events including craft fairs for local artists, agricultural association annual general meetings and fashion parades.
Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford said Victoria’s wool industry has a long and proud history which international visitors want to learn about.
“We are backing the Creswick Woollen Mills project so that more people ‘flock’ to regional Victoria.
“Through our Regional Tourism and Infrastructure Fund, we’re ensuring that projects that increase the number of visitors to regional Victoria, create jobs and boost local economies, get the support they need.”
The tourism experience showcases the journey of wool from its source on the alpaca, through the manufacturing process, and how it ends up in product on the shop shelf.
The Victorian Government said the visitor economy is crucial to the future economic development of regional and rural Victoria, contributing $11.5 billion and generating 114,400 jobs annually.
Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard said international visitors love the unique experiences that they can have across the region.
“Tourists will be able to interact with the alpacas, learn about the manufacturing process and buy some of the fantastic products made from the fine yarn from these great animals.”