MORE than five million people visited Geelong and the Bellarine in 2018-19 a 12.5 per cent jump in the regions tourism.
According to the City of Greater Geelong, about 5.9 million people accounted for 5.5 million overnight stays this past year bringing in $1.1 billion to the local economy and supporting 7,500 jobs in tourism and hospitality.
Of the regions international guests, 63,000 stayed overnight while 209,000 stopped by for the day, an increase of 11 per cent.
The findings also revealed international tourists are visiting the region more than ever before, with Chinese visitors making up the dominant share of the overseas market.
Cr Trent Sullivan, chair of the citys tourism and events portfolio, said the findings were a positive result for the region.
Its great to see tourists are realising Greater Geelong and The Bellarine is a wonderful place to visit during their holiday.
Council will continue to support the tourism and hospitality industry as it works to keep up with growing interest in our region.
The industry is a large driver of our local economy and in the coming year well have exciting opportunities to grow tourism further, especially as the projects funded in the Geelong City Deal come to life.
The city identified the introduction of international flights at Avalon Airport in 2018 and state-funded grants (including programs such as Destination Accessible and the digital augmentation of the Waterfronts Bollards) to be contributing factors to the rise in tourism.
The council has also estimated that tourism could grow to 7.5 million visitors who spend $1.7 billion in the next eight years, creating 11,572 new jobs in the process.
Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said she was pleased with the figures and felt confident that the region could attract more visitors over the next decade.