Victoria’s tourism potential can now be realised with the State Government’s response to the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s inquiry into the industry unlocking opportunities to improve its competitiveness.
Victoria’s tourism industry has today been given the key to unlock the door to real and valuable tourism investment opportunities.
The report highlights strong support for reforms affecting nature-based tourism, regional planning and investment facilitation.
Victoria has the highest number of national park visitors in Australia yet people spend the least amount of money in our parks and we still struggle to attract overnight visitors to regional areas. Revised planning and development restrictions will position our natural and cultural icons as tourism destinations themselves, through sensitive and appropriate tourism development.
Planning reforms in particular have legitimised tourism as an appropriate use of land. Tourism is no longer an afterthought, but part of the framework that is central to appropriate development for community and tourism alike. Not only does it create access to our icons, it creates a sense of pride for our locals and tourists.
Partnerships between local and state governments and in particular, the focus on a Regional Growth Plan, will ensure this greater alignment.
We welcome the policy reforms for the private sector provision of sensible and appropriate tourism infrastructure that complements natural and cultural assets, to enhance the experience of visitors to national parks.
A significant extension of the lease terms for infrastructure in national parks has been granted for up to 99 years. This is a major opportunity for tourism investors, providing real opportunities for the private sector to actively be involved in quality visitor experiences, the promotion of our natural and cultural icons, and it will also bring Victoria in line with other states.
International visitors to Victoria, including from markets like China, are projected to deliver strong economic growth to the state. Coupled with the current economic uncertainty in Europe and the subdued economy in the United States, it is vital that Victoria’s tourism industry finds a new edge and refreshes its products.
We welcome the State Government declaring tourism development as a priority and significant contributor to the state’s economy. When combined with the removal of regulatory burden also announced in the report, Victoria is now a very attractive place to invest in tourism development.
This is a great start and we ask both state and federal governments to continue this positive momentum and not to stop now. The extension of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and regional accommodation offerings that complements our key attractions are just some of the further investment opportunities we encourage the Government to consider as a priority.
VTIC is keen to see the swift implementation of the accepted recommendations and stands ready to support the Government to do so.
- Earlier this month, I was honoured and grateful to be conferred the title of Adjunct Professor in the School of International Business at Victoria University for the next three years. I hope I can lend the students the benefit of my 20-plus years in the industry, and thank Professor Alison Morrison, Head of the School of International Business, for making this happen.
- I would like to acknowledge the efforts of international student Castro Tavares who recently completed a two-week work placement with VTIC. Castro, from East Timor, was a great addition to the VTIC team and we were fortunate to have him on board. “Even though I spent just a couple of weeks with VTIC, I learned a lot of internal operational things; for example, about the working environment, working as a team, how they run their meetings and help each other,” Castro said. “I would like to thank all VTIC staff that were available to help me during placement.”
- Congratulations to all the recent Victorian recipients of Federal Government TQUAL grants. On Tuesday 7 August, Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson announced that 77 successful applicants would be offered $6.68 million under the 2012 round of T-QUAL Grants—Tourism Quality Projects. Click here for more information.