GURNEYS Cidery in Foster has scored a $470,000 grant through the Victorian Government’s $46 million Regional Tourism Investment Fund (RTIF).
The money is going towards Gurneys’ current project building one of the world’s largest underground cider cellars.
The new cellar will mean that Cidery founders, Bill and Lorraine Gurnett and their sons Tom and James, can increase their annual production, and attract more visitors to Gippsland, too.
The Gurnett family was “thrilled to hear of the recent announcement by the State Government.
“The investment will see the creation of a historic and iconic South Gippsland landmark that will draw visitors from across Australia and, one day, internationally,” the family said.
“We look forward to working with local contractors and businesses to deliver ‘The Arches’ underground cider cellar project and we’re excited by the opportunities this will bring to our South Gippsland community.”
When completed the cellar will be one of the largest underground cellars in Australia and one of the biggest cider cellars in the world. It will be used to age Gurneys cider as well as becoming another tourist drawcard for the region.
The Gurney’s Cidery grant was a share of $1.97 million from the RTIF to be allocated towards two projects in Gippsland, one at Foster and the other at Gabo Island, east of Mallacoota.
The Gabo Island Lighthouse has been given $1.5 million to upgrade its visitor accommodation and wildlife viewing facilities.
Eastern Victoria MLC Jane Garrett welcomed the funding for these two exciting projects as part of the $46 million Regional Tourism Investment Fund.
“Our A-grade tourism offering in Gippsland will go to the next level with these exciting works,” Ms Garrett said.
“The funding has been made available in the RTIF’s Stimulus Round that’s aimed at delivering a charge to the visitor economy while we continue our steady recovery from the global CODID-19 pandemic.”
Ms Garrett said the “$470,000 provided for Gurney’s Cidery ‘The Arches’ Experience in Foster will see the world’s largest underground cider cellar built and allow it to increase annual product production.
“This will have significant positive flow-on effects on broader tourism including attracting an additional 25,000 visitors to the Gippsland region per year,” she said.
“The Gabo Island Lighthouse project will involve the refurbishment of accommodation and visitor facilities to create a unique wildlife viewing experience and potential for a Victorian lighthouse accommodation trail,” she said.
The Regional Tourism Investment Fund – Stimulus Round will support the development of 30 projects across the state.
It forms part of the $465 million Victorian Tourism Recovery Package and delivers the first infrastructure outcome of the program after the resounding success of the Melbourne and regional travel voucher schemes.
“The Victorian Government is well aware of the impacts of coronavirus on the tourism sector – that’s why we are investing to ensure it continues to rebound,” Ms Garrett said.
“These works will provide crucial jobs in construction while bolstering the Gippsland region’s tourism appeal and bolstering jobs into the future.”