The New York Times recently released its list of 52 places to visit, this year with a focus on sustainability and the environment.
At number 24 on the list was Bass Coast’s own Penguin Parade.
The Bass Coast region has long been a destination of choice for domestic and international travellers and visitors have been experiencing the wonders of the little penguins since the 1920s.
Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan said that before the pandemic hit, around 64,000 international visitors would make their way to Bass Coast every year.
“We know that the last two years have been impacted heavily by COVID, but prior to that, the visitor Economy contributed to around 44 per cent of Bass Coast’s Gross Regional Product,” Cr Whelan said.
“The Penguin Parade, now operated by Phillip Island Nature Parks, is world renowned and is the primary reason why many visitors come to Bass Coast. It’s fantastic to see the work that Nature Parks is doing around sustainability and protecting the natural environment recognised on an international level.”
Cr Whelan said Bass Coast’s visitor experience is growing and giving people more reasons to visit and stay in the region.
“We have incredible natural spaces, idyllic beaches and rugged coastlines, many parts of which are accessible by an extensive walking and hiking network,” Cr Whelan said.
“Our wildlife is unique, featuring the largest colony of Little Penguins in the world, but also whale watching opportunities, as well as the ever popular and iconic kangaroos and koalas.
“We have adrenaline raising activities for every taste, from go-carts at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, jet boating and helicopter tours, to the adventure of Amaze’n’things – not to mention some of the best surfing beaches in the state.
“Another important aspect of our tourism offering is the ever growing number of passionate producers, modern cafes and restaurants and award winning wineries and breweries, scattered right across the region.”
Cr Whelan said that Council is working hard to broaden the visitor experience with place based tourism initiatives.
“We are currently advocating strongly to both the State and Federal Governments for funding to develop key projects, such as the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail, the Wonthaggi to Inverloch trail and an improved tracks and trails network for Phillip Island,” Cr Whelan said.
“We understand the importance of the tourism to the wider economy and our community and we will continue to look for opportunities to broaden our visitor economy into the future.”