THE Grace Kelly: Style Icon is continuing to attract attention even after the exhibition has closed.
The record-breaking Bendigo exclusive exhibition closed last weekend but featured in Federal Parliament on Thursday night.
Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie heaped glowing praise on the Bendigo Art Gallery and the benefits it was bringing to the region.
Ms McKenzie spoke of the people, including the wife of a Senate colleague, who had travelled interstate to visit the exhibition.
“It has been a massive economic boost for Bendigo, as one would imagine,” she said.
“It has lifted Bendigo’s profile across the country and has given us credibility nationally. It is a cultural investment that will be long term.”
More than 152,000 visitors passed through the exhibition, injecting about $17 million into the region’s economy.
Ms McKenzie heaped praise on gallery director Karen Quinlan and her staff for boosting regional tourism.
“I applaud Karen Quinlan’s foresight in bringing this exhibition to regional Victoria, to the iconic Bendigo Art Gallery,” Ms McKenzie said.
“It followed on from the success of two previous exhibitions at the gallery:
The White Wedding Dress: 200 years of wedding fashions exhibition and The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957 exhibition.
Bendigo is getting quite the reputation for this type of exhibition, for using the unique space within the Bendigo Art Gallery to display this type of work.
“Securing this exhibition, which will showcase the style and panache of Grace Kelly to Australian audiences, is a great result and another example of Bendigo Art Gallery punching well above its weight.”
Ms McKenzie said Bendigo had established itself as a must-visit location, while other regional towns cried out for tourism dollars.
She said people were travelling abroad instead of supporting regional communities.
“Tourism operators are crying out for customers as the high dollar further reduces our share of international tourism and encourages Australians to holiday abroad,” Ms McKenzie said.
“The bottom line is that, unless we start holidaying at home in greater numbers, the great example of tourism celebrated this week by the Bendigo Art Gallery will be lost, and we will see expected tourism losses of $8.7 billion this financial year, 2012-13, and beyond.”