The State Government has funded its first bike tourism project aimed at helping regional Victoria recover from the impact of COVID-19 on visitation to rural destinations.
The $3M facility, to be built at the Ararat Hills Regional Park, will get $2.7M in State funding with the rest from Ararat Rural City.
The Government said the aim was to create new experiences at tourism destinations while spurring job creation in the tourism sector.
The 50km trail network will be based on plans and feasibility studies developed over the last five years.
The five year project will start with the development of the core network, then a primary trail, followed by a series of further trails, and a high quality walking track through the park.
The project will take advantage of a number of trails already established by the local riding community.
The nearby Grampians National Park is already a major attractions but there are no opportunities for MTB development there.
The facility aims to leverage off the large number of Grampians visitors, as well as local and regional markets.
Although 200km from Melbourne, the train now goes to the town.
The Park has the advantage of being near the town centre, so tourist can stay in the town and ride directly to the park.
Mayor Jo Armstrong said: “It is a high-value tourism activity. The demographic of people who ride mountain bikes is one that pursues leisure and a lot of competitive events so we have a great opportunity to have repeat visitation from people who are here to experience the natural beauty of our region.
"Council has been lobbying for this project for a number of years and the hard work has really paid off.
"Our hospitality sector will definitely be a beneficiary of this new trial as well as accommodation providers and local wineries and cellar doors."
Labor Member for Western Victoria said: "This is great news for Ararat. It's creating jobs, boosting the local economies and insuring communities reap benefits at the end.”
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