Industry ideas create powerful agenda
By Dianne Smith, VTIC Chief Executive
It has been a busy late summer for the Victorian tourism industry, with many operators challenged by fires, new events lighting up Melbourne and lots of planning for the year ahead.
Thank you to the 250 people who devoted their time and insights to the recent VTIC Ideas Forums. Participants were split into policy sector groups, including accommodation, attractions, tours, events, destinations and services/hospitality, but it was interesting to note the commonality of the issues raised. These included regional dispersal and transport, the quality of the visitor experience, the cost of doing business and industry development.
VTIC will hold two further regional sessions and refine our policy positions through our policy committees and the VTIC board. The input of industry allows us to be confident and compelling in our advocacy, armed with the latest case study evidence to highlight the ‘table thumping’ issues concerning our members. Overall, it has been a productive month for policy matters. One of the highlights was a briefing to Victoria’s new Red Tape Commissioner John Lloyd, which could best be described as cathartic.
VTIC also met with DSE executives and representatives from the office of Environment Minister Ryan Smith about our keenness to see the swift implementation of the VCEC recommendations for private tourism investment in national parks, following the positive government response last August. We’re informed that this will be announced very soon.
VTIC relished the opportunity to join the CEO of Bus Association Victoria, Chris Lowe, and the CEO of the Australian Camps Association, David Petherick, in briefing the Hon. Peter Hall, Victorian Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession, on the effects of the current industrial dispute in the education sector.
Our purpose was to convey the adverse impacts on the tourism industry, and these other affected sectors, as a result of this long-running dispute and the uncertainty it has created.
Minister Hall conveyed his commitment to and keenness for resolution and a long-term solution to this dispute through continued EBA negotiations. He asked me to convey to industry that he was better informed of the impacts (for example, some operators are facing 90 per cent declines in school bookings for March) and thankful for the information.
Collectively, we sought a reassurance that every effort is being made to resolve the dispute at the earliest possible time. We will maintain a watching brief on this one, however believe that VTIC’s activities have had a constructive effect in this instance.
Australian Tourism Awards
It was a privilege to represent Victoria at the Australian Tourism Awards in Hobart recently. It was an impressive evening held in the newly refurbished Princes Wharf. Our warmest congratulations to the Frankston Visitor Information Centre for claiming gold in the Visitor Information and Services category and for an impressive speech by Nicole and Melanie on the evening. VTIC member Habitat HQ also deserves a big pat on the back for taking out silver in the Backpacker Accommodation category and we congratulate silver award winners Suzuki Night Market (Festivals and Events), Max’s at Red Hill Estate (Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services) and Blue Moon Cottages (Standard Accommodation). Well done also to the five Victorian bronze winners. Of the 26 categories, there were 10 in which Victorians operators won or placed – a result which we’ll be working hard towards increasing.
Congratulations also to our Chair, Jeremy Johnson, who was highlighted as one of Australia’s most significant individual contributors to the tourism industry. It was so fitting to see Jeremy acknowledged alongside other industry legends.
It was satisfying to see an idea become reality with the first cooperative tourism marketing campaign accompanying the Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Snake.
About a year ago, with the urging of a few Melbourne operators, we initiated this project in conjunction with Destination Melbourne, aimed at uniting industry and engaging locals in the Chinese New Year festivities. With the support of the City of Melbourne, a marvellous campaign was created and we anticipate that this fantastic tourism event will only strengthen in the years to come. If you didn’t see the campaign, click here to see what was created.
Well done to the operators involved, to Destination Melbourne for managing the campaign and to the City of Melbourne for sponsoring the project.