By Patrick Byrne, Geelong Advertiser
TOURISM in Geelong will get a huge boost next year, when up to $1 million will be pumped into the region with the return of the Great Victorian Bike Ride.
Geelong Otway Tourism executive director Roger Grant said he was thrilled such a renowned event, which has a big tourism after-effect, was coming back to the Great Ocean Road for the seventh time. Mr Grant said: "That means a very big boost for the region.
"In the past, it has brought with it hundreds of thousands dollars in tourism expenditure, if not over $1 million."
Mr Grant said the 610km bike ride, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, also resulted in the region being further exposed as one of the ultimate cycling destinations.
"Many of the riders who take part will return to ride in the region again, which, of course, brings with it even more tourism," he said.
More than 6000 riders are tipped to take part in the ride that will begin in South Australia and finish in Geelong.
John Myer, from Bicycle Network Victoria, said each rider spent almost $40 a day and more than $70 on rest days.
"Based on 6000 riders, that's more than $200,000 from the riders alone," Mr Myer said.
Family and friends who joined riders in support poured even more money into the economy, he said.
The 2013 RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride will start in Mt Gambier, and go through Portland, Port Fairy and Port Campbell then head inland to Gellibrand and Birregurra before getting back on the coast at Lorne and finishing in Geelong.
The event is fully catered over the nine days and participants camp each night.
Riders can get luggage transport, massage, full medical teams and bicycle repairs.
Organisers are urging anyone interested in taking part to book early, with the ride expected to sell out quickly.
When the event was last on the Great Ocean Road in 2009, tickets sold in six weeks.
Dated - 04.12.2012