New planning reforms announced by the State Government in detail this week will facilitate the development of high quality tourism offerings, according to the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC).
VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith says, “There are gaps in our current tourism offerings caused in part by planning restrictions which don’t allow flexibility for tourism operators to continue to grow and increase their competitiveness.
“In our submission to the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission Inquiry into Tourism, we highlighted planning regulations as being one of the factors that have inhibited the development of a competitive tourism offering in Victoria.
“The review of planning permissions highlights the importance of planning in general for the successful development of the tourism industry. By streamlining some of the planning processes the reforms will give some relief to operators, particularly in regional Victoria.
“Of particular interest to the tourism industry are reforms around restrictions on the number of people that may stay in bed and breakfast accommodation, as well as the removal of restrictions around function centre, hotel and restaurant developments.
“Furthermore, the removal of restrictions currently imposed upon key activities in industries such as the agri-business sector will allow these industries to flourish as tourism attractions.”
Director Gavin Ronan, from Great Ocean Road walking tour operator bothfeet, says, “Greater flexibility and efficiency within the planning scheme is long overdue. If some of these proposed reforms had been in place when we established our business seven years ago, we may have had an easier time getting the business started.”
CEO of Yarra Ranges Regional Marketing, Mark Challis, adds, “Opportunities in agri-tourism in green wedge zones have been limited or been missed altogether due to the limits and conditions placed on certain activities and business developments. If proposed planning reforms make it easier for agri-tourism operators to do business, this will be a great boost to product options and experiences in these areas.”
“VTIC welcomes the planning reform announcements which show that the State Government is listening to the tourism industry,” says Ms Smith. “We now wait with anticipation the government’s response to the VCEC inquiry report which we hope will further improve the operating environment for tourism, hospitality and events businesses through much needed legislative reform.”
Background – About VTIC
The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is the peak policy council for the Victorian tourism industry, which represents key industry associations, operators and government agencies, providing one united industry voice.
Melina Walton, Senior Communications Adviser firstname.lastname@example.org, 03 8662 5310, 0423 883 945