Victoria’s peak tourism industry body says while it is pleased with the funding announcement in the 2013-14 Victorian state budget for an additional $24 million towards the industry’s marketing efforts, it is disappointed that a funding contribution towards the extension of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has not been included.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) Chief Executive Dianne Smith says, “We are particularly pleased with the commitment to fund Victoria’s China Tourism Strategy, to ensure that we can capitalise on the potential future growth of one of our most important markets.
“The $18 million in funding for Victoria’s International Education Strategy will also have flow-on benefits to the tourism sector and regional tourism operators will benefit from new funding to maintain and upgrade roads in regional Victoria, supporting the movement of visitors across our state.
“However, the failure to support the development of MCEC will have flow-on affects to the $16 billion Victorian tourism and events industries.
“MCEC is an outstanding facility for conventions and exhibitions, and contributes approximately $212 million each year to Victoria’s economy.
“The venue is currently being forced to turn away business due to a lack of exhibition space. The State Government has missed an important opportunity to invest in Victoria’s future through funding the extension of this important Melbourne venue.”
“Events held in Melbourne have a positive flow on benefit across Victoria, with international business visitors generally staying for a number of days and often travelling outside of Melbourne.
“The 2012 Amway delegation from India brought 4,000 visitors to Melbourne, contributing $20 million to our state. Next year, MCEC will host the largest medical conference ever to be held in Australia – the International Aids Conference – which is expected to bring 14,000 delegates from 200 countries and generate $80 million for Victoria.
“Tourism and events are growth industries for Victoria and contribute nearly $16 billion to the state economy each year and employ over 204,000 people.
“The Government should be nurturing the tourism and events industry by investing in projects such as the MCEC extension to ensure the industry contributes to grow and contribute valuable to metropolitan and regional economies and communities.”
Victoria’s tourism industry employs more than 204,000 Victorians.