14 February 2024

‘Ideal for seniors’: Griffith tourism boosted by Wotif, World Atlas website 'top town' ratings

| Oliver Jacques
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Bella Vita wine owner in Banna Lane

Robyn Turner can take you to see the art on Banna Lane. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffith’s tourism prospects have been boosted by travel booking website wotif, who ranked it as one of the top 10 towns to visit in Australia, in an annual list complied by experts which was last published on Monday (12 February).

This follows lavish praise by geographical website World Atlas, which in January rated Griffith as ‘ideal for seniors’ and one of the 11 most charming towns in NSW.

Wotif.com deemed Griffith the seventh best town to visit in 2024. The site’s rating is based on trending traveller interest (hotel searches), affordability, accommodation quality and traveller reviews. Bendigo was rated the number one town in 2024 while Albury took the top spot last year.

“[Italian] influence remains strong in Griffith today, and is seen in the city’s vibrant cafe, restaurant and wine making scene,” Wotif’s Bec Hurley said.

Wotif recommended The Gem Hotel, on Banna Avenue, as the best place in town for visitors to spend the night.

World Atlas, which is read by an estimated 165 million people across the globe every year, expressed similar sentiment when it included the town in its ‘ideal for seniors’ shortlist.

“Griffith, known for its rich Italian heritage and agricultural prowess, is an ideal destination for seniors who enjoy good food, wine, and cultural diversity,” the website stated.

Politicians behind table with platters and wine

A new wine tasting hub in the centre of Griffith is expected to attract more tourists to town. RWA’s Carrah Lymer and Calabria Wines’ Andrew Calabria (centre) flanked by then NSW government ministers Dugald Saunders and Paul Toole, when funding was announced for the new wine hub in 2022. Photo: Facebook.

Robyn Turner, who runs winery and general tours of Griffith through her company Bella Vita Tours, said the town needed to capitalise on these positive reviews.

“I think it’s really exciting we have received these accolades; we now need to use it to our advantage by publicising it, making big plans and ensuring our town lives up to expectations.

“The sky is the limit, there is so much opportunity for us.”

Griffith’s tourism has long been hampered by its isolation – the town is at least five hours’ drive from the nearest major city.

“We need to do more to attract people in nearby towns,” Ms Turner said. “Wagga is a great market for us. It’s only two hours away.”

She said Griffith visitor numbers had been low over the summer but expected them to pick up as temperatures cooled down.

“At Bella Vita Tours, we are looking at doing some different cooking classes out at the Whitton Malt House and considering a street walking tour up Banna Avenue,” she said.

“The new wine tasting hub in the centre of town will also be fantastic for visitors.”

Mirella Guidolin, Griffith City Council Tourism Manager, also said she wanted the town to focus on its strengths.

“We don’t have mountains or the sea, but we do have the friendliest people, a rich blend of cultures and traditions, an abundance of world-class local food and wine producers, passionate chefs, and many festivals held throughout the year showcasing the true essence of Griffith,” she said.

Customised tours of Griffith can be booked through the Bella Vita Tours website.

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