On Monday, 27 May, VTIC participated in the budget lock-up which gave us a preview of what would be announced by the Treasurer that afternoon.
In spite of what is clearly a challenging financial year ahead, there were some pleasing outcomes overall for tourism.
From a business operations perspective, the announcement of a progressive 50 per cent reduction in land stamp duty for regional Victoria will help unlock the potential for tourism investment across the state. As well, the cut to the regional payroll tax rate to 1.21 per cent by 2023 provides a big boost to our regional tourism businesses.
While we were disappointed that an allocation of longer term funding was not secured for Visit Victoria, it was good to see that their discretionary marketing budget of $32 million was maintained for another 12 months.
On the supply side, there were a range of pleasing announcements across transport, infrastructure and experience development. We are summarising all of this in detail now and will come back to you with a separate communication outlining the tourism commitments secured in the 2019-20 budget.
Most of you would now all be aware of the decision to cease operation of Destination Melbourne from Friday 31 May. I’m sure that this has been a very difficult decision for the Board to come to and VTIC has been working closely with Destination Melbourne with regard to key industry development programs.
For the past 18 years, Destination Melbourne has had a lasting impact on the performance of the Melbourne tourism sector and the fact that many of their programs will be carried on into the future is testament to the important role they played in our visitor economy.
I’m pleased to say that VTIC will be taking over responsibility for delivering the Melbourne Tourism Leadership Program to ensure this valuable initiative continues to support the leaders of tomorrow in our sector. I will be providing more information on this in the near future, but rest assured VTIC is committed to maintaining this much loved program.