Bass Coast’s Penguin Parade has been named on the New York Times’ list of 52 places to visit.
Named at number 24 on the list, the Parade’s little penguins have enthralled visitors to the region since the 1920s.
Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, 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% of Bass Coast’s Gross Regional Product,” Mayor 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.”
Mayor Whelan said Bass Coast’s visitor experience was 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,” he 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.”
Mayor Whelan said Council was 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.”
“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,” he said.