Bendigo in the dead of winter could be a tourism draw, expert says

BENDIGO could turn a negative into a positive and create a tourism event in the dead of winter, a leading marketer says.

Locals might complain about cold weather but they could be losing the opportunity to cash in on extra visitors to town - and to get off the couch for more fun events - property brand expert Andrew Hoyne believes.

He is one of five experts who will come together to share observations and ideas about shaping resilient communities on Thursday night.

"Bendigo is one of those great cities that truly gets four seasons," he said.

"That might seem meaningless to people living in town, but the idea of having a hot, hot summer and a cold, cold winter is something that can really be leveraged for big events.

"Having four very distinct seasons is actually less common than people would realise. In fact ... for the bulk of Australia, winters are only mildly less warm.

"So I'd say Bendigo should bring to life a 'welcoming of winter' event, perhaps have something one the winter solstice with ice drinks. Then in summer, do the opposite."

An estimated 60,000 people went to Bendigo's 2018 White Night on a chilly September evening, but the event will not return until 2020.

White Night crowds fill View Street. Picture: DARREN HOWE

White Night crowds fill View Street. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Mr Hoyne plans to use Thursday's event to discuss Bendigo as a "place brand" and get people thinking about their town's assets in different ways.

"There are a lot of places that we think of as destinations but we find them hard to differentiate, to know what their personality is," he said.

"But I think Bendigo has a lot of great attributes, probably more than other regional hubs. It would be a nice reminder to talk to people about what they need to do to leverage those assets."

Bendigo already has an art gallery exhibiting work people could see nowhere else in Australia, Mr Hoyne said.

Beefeaters stand guard during the Bendigo Art Gallery's Tudors to Windsors exhibition. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Beefeaters stand guard during the Bendigo Art Gallery's Tudors to Windsors exhibition. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Yet, a competitive tourism market, Bendigonians can not stand back and say "we are doing alright, let's leave it at that", Mr Hoyne said.

The inaugural Seddon Lecture: Shaping Resilient Regions takes place from 6pm at the La Trobe Art Institute in View Street.