A message from Acting Chief Executive, Erin Joyce
As we embark on a new year, VTIC is calling for action from the Government in the wake of twelve months of review and restructure. You, our members, have been expecting to hear announcements on the appointments to the Visit Victoria Board and Ministerial Advisory Committee, as well as the successful applicants of the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure grants program, which were promised prior to Christmas 2015.
We are strongly advocating for Government to work with us on an action-orientated Victoria Tourism and Events plan for 2016-2020 that clearly articulates what Government will do, what industry will do, and what will be achieved together. A shared vision and partnership is required to ensure the growth and long-term sustainability of the tourism and events sector as the 7th pillar pf the Victorian Economy, and we are looking for a commitment from Government to substantively resource such a plan to deliver the growth and opportunities identified.
Of course, work must continue in the industry in the meantime and regional areas have been facing some significant challenges at a time that for many, should be the peak period of the year. The Christmas Day bushfires that ravaged the charming seaside escape of Wye River and surrounding areas has, and continues to be a major challenge for the Great Ocean Road region. It was encouraging to see recovery funds announced, however there is still a long road ahead for that community in restoring the infrastructure and visitation that sustained the area’s economy. We will continue to lend our support to the great work Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism has already provided, where possible.
Regional Tourism Boards more broadly require increased support and the Government has made some recent announcements which will go some way to enabling regional destinations to begin to take advantage of opportunities to grow the visitor economy in their areas. The recent confirmation of RTB partnership funds and an announcement of a $1.8 million package for regional tourism infrastructure are both welcomed, however more regional funding is required to make a bigger impact in dispersing more visitors across all our unique and diverse regional areas, particularly around regional events.
We continue to raise awareness around the impact that penalty rates have on hospitality and tourism businesses on weekends and public holidays to advocate for reform in this area, which will improve the business capacity to take on additional staff and improve the quality of the visitor experience.
On the events front, the VTIC events calendar for 2016 has been set in place with a view to providing industry with maximum opportunity to develop and connect.
Premium Events sector (VEIC) members are invited to hear Sir Rod Eddington speak over lunch on Tuesday 22 March, which will no doubt be an informative and engaging presentation.
However, we will kick off the year on 5 February at the VTIC Visitor Economy Forum (VVEF) and Tourism Australia Industry Briefing, to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Formerly known as the VTIC Program Launch, the VVEF has a new name and takes on a new look in 2016 based on your feedback. As per usual, VTIC will assess the past year, however for the first time we have put it to you as our members and as the industry, to tell us your top concerns and contribute to shaping the VTIC policy agenda for 2016 and beyond.
The Tourism Australia Industry briefing will follow after a networking lunch and we encourage all VTIC members to stay on for this informative session on the state of play at a national level.
On behalf of myself and the entire VTIC team, we encourage you as the industry to come along, connect and help shape the VTIC agenda for 2016!