Over the years I’ve met some great advocates of Aboriginal tourism. Just last week, I caught up with Shannon Collyer, who manages Worn Gundidj at Tower Hill in Victoria’s south-west. He is furthering the legacy of his father John, and creating a great visitor experience in partnership with mainstream tourism operators.
To assist people like Shannon, it’s good to see that Tourism Victoria released the Aboriginal Tourism Development Plan recently. Victoria has unique Aboriginal tourism product and the strategy will hopefully set a vision for continued growth in coming years.
We also welcomed the release of the long-awaited Victoria’s Regional Tourism Strategy. With our national and international visitor survey results continuing to show challenges for regional Victoria, it is essential that visitors are encouraged to venture beyond Melbourne. Declines in visitor numbers must be arrested as a priority.
As you may have seen in our media statements in response to these strategies, VTIC was disappointed that funding has not been attached to either.
I had an opportunity to ask the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, the new federal minister with responsibility for tourism, a few questions at the National Tourism Alliance-hosted Tourism Round Table this week.
He was passionate about the opportunities presented by tourism, acknowledging that we can deliver high quality experiences as well as be cost competitive. He re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to addressing cost barriers such as penalty rates and visa processes, removing unnecessary red and green tape, and nurturing better profits for SMEs. The Minister is also keen to support business events, which is very encouraging.
All up, it was a good day for connecting with our political leaders as we then had an opportunity to speak with Anthony Albanese, Shadow Tourism Minister.
It was also wonderful to see the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott, officially launch the RACV Resort at Torquay. He spoke enthusiastically about the important role government plays in nurturing tourism, and how partnerships with industry are the key to our future success. Congratulations to the RACV for a brilliant launch and another excellent property and visitor experience. I had a sneak peak at the gymnasium and spa, and plan to return soon to try the amazing Hammam bathing area!
There are many other exciting things happening as we prepare to farewell 2013 – preparation for the Australian Open tennis, the upcoming Melbourne Star launch on 23 December, new direct Jetstar flights from Tokyo set to commence in April 2014 and the Chinese New Year celebrations.
A big thanks to you – our members – for your support this year. We are encouraged that so many of you continue to value your membership with your peak industry body by engaging with our events, seeking our advice or adding your voice to our advocacy efforts. Here is a series of short testimonials we gathered recently that reflects how some of our members value their membership. Watch now >
Finally, it was great to see so many of you at our Industry Christmas Party with the Melbourne Convention Bureau and Destination Melbourne. What a vibrant and engaged bunch the Victorian industry is! View the photos from the Industry Christmas Party on our Facebook page >
Have a happy and safe Christmas, and best of luck to all operators for the summer season and coming year.