2014 is now in full swing with stage one of VTIC’s Prosperity Project complete, positive progress in our Tourist Refund Scheme reform advocacy efforts and the release of the latest Business Sentiment Survey results. Also this month, VTIC met with the new Shadow Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren and worked with members to try to make Victoria more cyclist-friendly.
Tourist Refund Scheme
A recent win for VTIC relates to the Tourist Refund Scheme – the mechanism by which people leaving Australia can claim back the GST on products bought here. We are a member of the Tourist Shopping Reform Group, which is working to have the system simplified and run by a private operator (it’s currently run by federal Customs). VTIC worked closely with the group and KPMG in briefing Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Tourism and Major Events Minister Louise Asher on the proposal and we’re pleased that the Treasurer has indicated his support for the changes. The proposal will now go through several federal government processes, which is quite complicated given GST implications. However, good progress has been made and we’ll keep you updated on future developments.
Leading up to the 2014 state election, VTIC is conducting detailed research on the significance of Victoria’s tourism and events industry. The ‘Prosperity Project’ shows there are two main challenges for the Victorian industry – a lack of demand in regional Victoria and a lack of capacity in Melbourne. Stage one of the project is now complete and stage two will look at how VTIC can best advocate for industry to ensure a great outcome for tourism from the next government. Further information on the Prosperity Project’s findings will be available at the VTIC Ideas Forum on 12 March. Thank you to all who have contributed to the project so far.
VTIC’s Policy Committee meetings are a great way of ensuring that the concerns of industry are addressed in all our activities. The most recent meetings were held on 12 February, with a special address from the Red Tape Commissioner, Mr John Lloyd. If you would like more information on the policy committees and how you can be involved, contact Letitia Hatton, Policy Manager, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Bikes and V/Line
VTIC is working with members including Bicycle Network Victoria and several Regional Tourism Boards to try to make Victoria more cyclist-friendly. There is inconsistency in the way bicycles are treated by V/Line – some trains can accommodate bicycles and some can’t. It is also V/Line policy that bikes cannot be carried on V/Line regional coach services. This is a concern, particularly in light of Victoria’s Cycle Tourism Action Plan, released by Tourism Victoria in 2011, which aims to make Victoria a prime destination for cycle tourists. VTIC will continue to work with members on this matter.
Results from the latest VTIC Quarterly Business Sentiment survey show that business sentiment improved in the September quarter of 2013 compared with the June quarter. Some46 per cent of respondents felt slightly or very positive about general conditions in the three months to 30 September and more than 55 per cent were very or slightly positive about their own business’s performance over that period. The federal election could have been a factor here, with this survey occurring just after.
In terms of turnover, 29 per cent of respondents said it exceeded expectations; 31 per cent said it was as expected. Sentiment for the December quarter was pleasing, with more than 48 per cent of respondents feeling positive about the coming season.
Click here to View the VTIC survey results >
The VTIC Business Sentiment Survey is invaluable in making sure we have our finger on the pulse. It is quick and easy to complete and we encourage all members to participate.