TOURISM BOOM: Visitors will enjoy two days of lazy grazing with award-winning wines and gourmet food at Grazing the Granite Belt.
TOURISM BOOM: Visitors will enjoy two days of lazy grazing with award-winning wines and gourmet food at Grazing the Granite Belt.

‘NEW NORMAL’: Granite Belt on the cusp of new tourism boom

Sold out events and earlier peak seasons show tourism could be on a record boom in the Granite Belt.

This week the beloved winery tour and bus trip Grazing the Granite Belt sold out of spots for its May 15-16 event.

Tickets for the mid-year tour were only made available two weeks ago but the 200 people cap has already been reached, leaving organiser and Ballandean Estate Wines client relations manager Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi floored.

“The only reason we even put tickets on sale so early was that we kept getting inquiries about it,” she said,

“To me it shows people are desperate to get out and come to the country.

“We’ve had such a busy, fantastic year with tourism but no events and this feels like a little bit of getting to normal, it gives us all a little bit of confidence.”

Ms Puglisi-Gangemi said the overwhelming support came off the back of the Granite Belt’s “busiest winter season” yet with hopes a packed event calendar could keep that rolling even if borders open.

“We all know the value of events in the region for tourists and we can get them up and running in a safe way,” she said.

“The number of people last winter who said ‘this is my first time to the area’, they’re the people we want to keep coming back.

“We’re hoping these people had a great weekend in the Granite Belt and are inspired to come back for this event, that event.”

All signs seemed to be positive with Ms Puglisi-Gangemi even saying the peak season was starting now rather than is typical Easter start.

For the fourth-generation vigneron, who last year lost 10,000 vines from drought, the timing couldn’t be better.

“We hear people saying ‘we’re here to support you, we know you’ve had it tough’,” she said.

“The feeling in the air is that we’re picking good quality grapes, apples and getting ourselves ready for a huge winter and success year.

“Who knows may this is the new normal for our region?”

While tickets are sold out for Grazing the Granite Belt, the highly-anticipated Autumn Race Day has returned.

For tickets to that Ballandean Estates Wines event, head here.