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The Victorian holiday hotspot recording massive growth for overseas visitors

International visitors are heading to Victoria’s country and regional areas in record numbers.

The rise in overnight international visitors is nearly four times more than the national average — 12 per cent compared to 3.3 per cent in other states.

Visitor numbers to Phillip Island (The Nobbies on the island pictured above) are up a whopping 39 per cent.

Six other hotspots recorded double-digit rises: Gippsland (17.1 per cent), Goldfields (16.8 per cent), Murray (16.2 per cent), Mornington Peninsula (13.6 per cent), Geelong/Bellarine (11.4 per cent) and the Great Ocean Road (10.9 per cent).

The international visitors spent $8.5 billion.

Minister for Tourism Martin Pakula told Ross and John 680,000 of the visitors came from China.

“It’s certainly a massive part of the growth,” he said.

“One thing that captured my mind is that the Chinese middle class … is growing at the same rate of all Australia.

“They are fascinated by Australia and they are increasingly coming here.”

Mr Pakula hopes these new figures, from Tourism Research Australia, encourage Tourism Australia to look further south.

“I think you’ll find Visit Victoria and the government are constantly encouraging Tourism Australia … to recognise Australia is not just the Gold Coast and Sydney Harbour Bridge.”

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