Simply Tomatoes looks to state tourism awards

Published on 27 October 2017

Boort-based business Simply Tomatoes has set out to highlight its achievements and the overall appeal of the Loddon region through entering the 2017 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards.

Simply Tomatoes is no stranger to the Victorian Tourism Awards, having previously claimed the silver award in 2015.

Simply Tomatoes’ Marilyn Lanyon said entering the awards required the company to put forward a submission, while the business had also been visited by a judge as part of the awards’ assessment.

“The submission itself scrutinises the whole business – all aspects of the company, from Occupational Health and Safety and financials right through to customer service and the products on offer,” she said. 

“Because we have three manufacturing businesses as well as the tourism arm, the submission process was quite intense.

“The tourism arm in particular is important to us as on-farm value adding, and ensuring we have the products to offer for visitors to view and consider.”

Mrs Lanyon added that the company was growing quite quickly, with plenty of exciting prospects in the near future.

“There’s a local coach tour from Barham that brings people to us from a variety of places. Of course, we also get plenty of support locally and around the Loddon region, including from motel operators and the Loddon Shire,” Mrs Lanyon said.

“We are seeing repeat tours from coach operators who bring visitors to Boort to tour the attractions here, and who really enjoy the town and its surrounding areas. In fact, one tour operator alone has booked 17 coaches.

“Visitors come from as far as South Australia, New South Wales, including Sydney, and Melbourne. These visitors include RV [recreational vehicle] and camper tourists as well as independent travellers,” she added.

Mrs Lanyon said word-of-mouth and repeat tours have had a snowball effect on visitor numbers.

“All this has seen our visitor numbers rise by a little over 100 per cent in comparison to last year.”

She added that business operators and locals in the region were always happy to endorse each other to visitors.

“Everyone promotes each other,” Mrs Lanyon said. “We are really lucky in that all businesses, such as local supermarkets and retailers, always think about everyone else in the region, and what they have to offer tourists to the area.

“This further increases the appeal of our region to visitors, including our really good country hospitality and friendliness, as well as the tourism choices offered. It’s the whole package.”

Mrs Lanyon paid tribute to the staff of Simply Tomatoes, who had helped make the company the success it is today.

“We have fantastic staff,” she said.

“We have eight casuals working for us. They are local people and they are just amazing. My husband Ian and I had to go away for a month and the staff ran everything like clockwork.

“As business owners it is very rare you are able to go on leave – something we hadn’t been able to do for years, so it was just incredible that we had the staff to be able to do that. The support from our staff – and friends – meant the business was able to operate seven days a week.”

The 2017 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards Gala Ceremony will be held on Thursday 23 November from 6pm.