Despite a horror year for tourism and hospitality around Australia, Griffith has proved to adapt with the changing times. With the pandemic encouraging Griffith businesses to expand their online presence and diversify their products and services, Griffith's tourism industry future presents exciting possibilities.
Mark and Michelle Burns from Aisling Distillery had just started to feel the momentum pick up with their newly opened cellar door when COVID hit in March. They didn't want to see their range of prize winning gins sit in boxes, so they worked with what opportunities presented themselves.
"To survive during that time we decided to push online sales, we pushed free local contact-less delivery which was very popular," Michelle Burns said.
"Everyone has had to change their focus. We have all found ways to still survive during COVID."
The boom of Aisling's online sales this year has been primarily coming from Griffith people wanting to support local business, the Burns' pointed out. However as restrictions have been easing all over the state the past weeks, they are booking out for visits to their cellar door.
With international travel off the cards, more people have been looking for a travel experience closer to home. Numbers coming from the Griffith Tourist Information Centre have seen visitor numbers up even in comparison to 2019 stats.
"There are have been a lot of positives for Griffith coming out of COVID," Mirella Guidolin from Griffith Visitor's Centre said.
"People from the cities who wouldn't have normally considered Griffith have been venturing out to get the 'local' experience.
"But also, we have seen a lot of local support where people from other regional towns visiting who are looking for a travel experience without travelling too far."
Griffith businesses are beginning to think outside the square with how to diversify their business to add experiences to their products and create a regional feel Mrs Guidolin explained.
"People will drive for an experience. People get a personalised experience in Griffith with the family businesses here," Mrs Guidolin said.
With the Victorian borders opening Monday, it is hoped more positives will come leading into the Christmas period.
"As long as everyone continues to do the right thing with COVID considerations, we hope to see the momentum continue when the borders open."