In NE Vic, the Rutherglen community’s new tourism/e-commerce platform has had a huge 15 – 25% growth on each previous month since its launch in August 2004, according to delighted coordinator, Kerissa Heritage.
Rutherglen, a charming former goldmining town, population around 2500, is the centre of Victoria’s long-established and most important wine-producing district. Fortified wines and dry reds are its specialty and the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout has been a well-loved June weekend event for many years.
With Rutherglenvic.com the public can now easily find about Rutherglen’s food, wine, accommodation and events. Kerissa says their tracking program shows a huge 310,000 hits with almost 4000 people recently downloading their Winery Walkabout brochure. There is a direct correlation between the increase in website hits and increases in visitation to Rutherglen in the first four months of 2005.
The site has info on accommodation, including availability, a page for local businesses and individual pages for restaurants, cafes, hotels, microbreweries and ‘produce’ plus an ‘Edit your page’ website option for participants.
How did they get it all off the ground and did they have any trouble getting local businesses to support it? Kerissa says initially local accommodation operators didn’t see the potential of the website and were unsure of promoting accommodation outside Rutherglen, and how it should be presented. However ‘sticking points’ were resolved and now there is ongoing discussion about servicing visitors to the whole Rutherglen area….the growth in visitors tends to speak for itself!
Rutherglenvic.com is a collaborative effort of several local groups – The Rutherglen Wine Experience, Winemakers of Rutherglen, Rutherglen Wine Region Tourism and Indigo Shire Council. It was funded under the Federal Government’s Regional Partnerships Program and is sponsored by the TAC, Australia Post, Visy Pty Ltd, Winemakers of Rutherglen, Rutherglen Wine Region Tourism and Indigo Shire. To get the site known they have established lots of links to stakeholder websites and paid for Google advertising.
CONTACT: Kerissa Heritage email firstname.lastname@example.org; ph: 02 6033 6300.