A BIG marketing campaign to lure cyclists to the North East has helped drive a jump in the number of overnight stays in the region.
Visitors spent 6.181 million nights in the High Country in 2018-19, up from 4.952 in the previous financial year.
There was 2.102 million domestic overnight visitors, with 1.789 million domestic day trippers, with that mark representing a 6.4 per cent annual fall.
Tourism North East chief executive Amber Gardner said the figures showed travellers spending more money in the area by staying longer.
"To me it's actually a positive drop, the drop in day trip numbers, because it means people are converting to multiple nights," Ms Gardner said.
She attributed the spike in stays to marketing efforts in Melbourne with a particular focus on cycling tourists.
A Ride High Country campaign covered 50 billboards, the sides of buses, cycling events and media.
In June there was also major advertising in Melbourne to lure city folk to snow resorts during the week.
Your Midweek Lift slogans and related images adorned banners, signs and stairs at Southern Cross railway station with an estimated reach of 5.6 million commuters.
Ms Gardner said such measures were vital because there was a lack of knowledge about the North East's attractions in Melbourne.
"People have a very strong understanding of tourism offerings in and around Melbourne, within a one-and-a-half hour radius, and anything longer than that there's not a great understanding," she said.
"There's a feeling 'should I travel three or four hours if I don't know what they've got to offer'."
Ms Gardner added to lure more visitors "we need to keep investing in what I call game-changing tourism products".
There is also a need for greater accommodation, even accounting for the role of online lodging platforms such as airbnb.
"We know that by 2025 demand will outstrip supply for beds in our region, so with that in mind there's a need for investment in accommodation," Ms Gardner said.
The area covered by Tourism North includes the Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Strathbogie, Towong and Wangaratta council areas as well as the alpine resorts.