Today’s announcement by the Andrews Government of a further $150 million support package for tourism, creative industries and sport, provides a lifeline to key pillars of Victoria’s global brand credentials and ensures we can protect our vital offering to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis, according to the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC).
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “Melbourne and Victoria are world renowned for being Australia’s sporting, cultural and events capital, but these industries have been decimated by the impacts of restrictions related to the Coronavirus and the complete shutdown of their operations.
“This investment gives these vital sectors a pathway to survival so Victoria can emerge with critical assets to attract visitors back as soon as we’re able.”
Prior to the current crisis, the Visitor Economy contributed over $32 billion to Victoria’s economic performance and employed over 230,000 people directly and indirectly, with over 92,000 of those employed in our regional areas across the state.
“With $60 million invested in our sporting and racing sectors, and $32 million for our creative industries, including critical cultural assets such as our National Gallery of Victoria, Museums Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Recital Centre and the Geelong Arts Centre, this funding will allow Victoria to maintain key pillars of our international positioning and protect these operations that are facing an uncertain future as to how and when they might reactivate.
“With other businesses looking forward to reopening, these events and venues may well be one of the last to fully reactivate given the likely ongoing restrictions for large crowds in indoor or outdoor spaces.
“Their future is uncertain, and this funding will provide a critical bridge between the current crisis and a time when they can return to some semblance of normalcy,” Ms Mariani said.
Today’s support package also includes $11 million directed toward the state’s Experience Economy; with Puffing Billy Railway receiving a much-needed lifeline to sustain its operations that have seen revenue streams shut off by current restrictions.
“Even as we look to reanimate our industry, the new operating environment will present ongoing challenges for Puffing Billy, Sovereign Hill and other key attractions, as social distancing requirements will dramatically affect visitor engagement with the experience.
“This $11 million boost will also see a critical allocation of funding for our Regional Tourism Boards, that have experienced disruption to their continuity as funding security has been in question. These organisations are vital channels to our regional tourism performance and this support will help to sure up their ongoing activities at a time when it’s most needed.
“Regional tourism is worth $8.1 billion to our regional economies across the state and these bodies play an integral role in sustaining this economic activity.
“VTIC also has a crucial development role to play in supporting the sector through this crisis. We have already provided vital assistance in helping the industry to navigate this challenging operating environment over the past many weeks and months, dating back to the start of the bushfire disaster in January.
“We’ve been engaging extensively with industry during COVID-19 and have shaped a clear proposal of what is needed to help them restructure, repurpose and reimagine their businesses to survive to the other side.
“VTIC is grateful that this contribution will allow us to activate a range of support programs to bolster the industry’s survival needs to the end of December, with a view to a longer-term recovery process over the next 18 months,” Ms Mariani concluded.