Races a winner for Swan Hill

Victory Downs powers home in the Murray Downs Golf & Country Club Swan Hill Cup, a race witnessed by a record crowd of 5519. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Victory Downs powers home in the Murray Downs Golf & Country Club Swan Hill Cup, a race witnessed by a record crowd of 5519. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

SWAN Hill was a hive of activity as visitors hit town to enjoy the June Racing Carnival.

Across the three days, 9745 people passed through the gates of the Swan Hill Jockey Club, headlined by a record crowd of 5519 for Sunday's Cup meeting, which has seen increases of two to three per cent each year for the past seven years.

SHJC president Jack Bennett said the crowds showed racing was alive and well in the Mallee.

"I cannot thank the people of Swan Hill enough who really got behind this carnival, I'm thrilled to bits really," Mr Bennett said.

"It's become like a big reunion in many ways with people catching up at the races.

"One man I spoke with has been coming to the Swan Hill carnival for 28 years."

Hotels, motels and caravan parks around town had been almost booked out, while cafes and restaurants profited from the boost in tourism numbers, with many staying open on Sunday to feed hungry revellers.

Victory Downs powers home in the Murray Downs Golf & Country Club Swan Hill Cup, a race witnessed by a record crowd of 5519. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Victory Downs powers home in the Murray Downs Golf & Country Club Swan Hill Cup, a race witnessed by a record crowd of 5519. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Swan Hill Inc marketing co-ordinator Julie Wiggins said the carnival was one of the region's most popular annual events.

"Horse racing has a large following and the June Carnival is one of the biggest events on Country Racing Victoria's calendar," Ms Wiggins said.

Ms Wiggins said the carnival was great because it brought a large number of tourists to Swan Hill.

"It brings a lot of repeat visitors to town," she said.

"We see an increase in family and friends visiting Swan Hill.

"Happy visitors tell their friends and family which will result in return visitors and first time visitors at other times of the year."

The long weekend brought plenty of economic benefits to town too, with the average person spending $157 per day.

"Such a large crowd has a big economic impact for Swan Hill," she said.

"Visitors to Swan Hill must eat and stay somewhere, so accommodation operators were over 95 per cent booked out. 

"Both accommodation operators and restaurants and cafes would have had great economic benefit from the races."

She said it was important for local businesses do their best to accommodate for large visitor numbers and stay open on Sundays.

"It would be wonderful if our operators such as restaurants, attractions and accommodation providers could encourage their visitors to share their good time in Swan Hill on social media and tag 'VisitSwanHill'," she said.

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