Victoria’s much-loved icon, Puffing Billy, will receive an $8.2 million funding boost in line with the Victoria Tourism Industry Council’s key policy agenda.
VTIC welcomes today’s funding announcement for a new Discovery Centre at Lakeside Station complete with new education and volunteer facilities, a café and event hosting capability. Construction is due to begin in 2018 and be completed by late 2020.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Brad Ostermeyer said VTIC has advocated for this funding to maintain one of Victoria’s most-loved and recognisable tourism attractions.
“Many thousands of local and international families have treasured memories of visiting Puffing Billy and this investment is vital for it to continue drawing visitors to the area,” he said.
“VTIC called for investment in Puffing Billy in its 2018 State Budget Submission and we are thrilled that the funding announcement has come ahead of the Budget process.
“Puffing Billy is an important piece of Victoria’s history and an internationally renowned tourism attraction, and as such should be serviced by world-class visitor facilities. The new Discovery Centre at Lakeside Station is a perfect example of how investment in infrastructure will help improve the visitor experience.
“The new facilities will help ease the pressure during peak periods and visitors will have a higher quality, educational experience. This is also great news for local tourism businesses that rely heavily on Puffing Billy as the main drawcard to the Dandenong Ranges.”
Mr Ostermeyer said while this funding was a positive boost to regional tourism, there were many other Victorian iconic tourism attractions also in need of improved facilities and services.
“Our unique natural wonders and landscapes are one of the main reasons why visitors choose Victoria as a destination for travel. We must actively invest in state-wide infrastructure that supports our attractions so our visitors want to stay longer, spend more and leave with an unforgettable experience,” he said.