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$250 million regional tourism recovery package announced

Sunday 27, Sep 2020

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a $250 million recovery package to support Australia’s regional areas heavily reliant on tourism.

VTIC Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani, applauded the latest support package from the Morrison-McCormack Government, which recognises the immense challenges confronting regional parts of Australia that rely heavily on tourism, particularly international tourism, to drive their local economies.

“This announcement today, on what is World Tourism Day, is welcome news for an industry that has been decimated over the past six months by the impacts of COVID-19. Not only has this global pandemic wreaked havoc on domestic tourism, with many borders remaining closed across the country, it has shut down the international arrivals critical to the visitation mix for so many regional areas.

“Regional Victoria is highly reliant on tourism visitation and spend to drive its economic fortunes. Our tourism industry employs 110,000 people across the state. In fact, in the five years between 2014 and 2019, one in five jobs created in regional Victoria was attributable to tourism.”

The package includes $200 million to support a new round of the Building Better Regions Fund, with $100 million specifically dedicated to tourism infrastructure projects in regional areas. A further $50 million has been allocated to a new Recovery of Regional Tourism Fund, established to support nine highly internationally exposed tourism regions across the country.

“VTIC welcomes the Morrison-McCormack Government’s recognition of the unique needs of regional tourism, and the allocation of such substantial support to help these regions adapt to changed circumstances amid Coronavirus restrictions,” said Ms Mariani.

“It’s magnificent to see that our very own Phillip Island is one of nine Australian regions that will benefit from the Recovery of Regional Tourism Fund. As a Tier 2 region, Phillip Island will be eligible for up to $3.5 million to support activities that will drive domestic tourism, assist with market diversification and support events and festivals in the region.

“Phillip Island is more reliant on tourism than any other region in Victoria, with 43.9% of its regional economy dependent on tourism and 46.8% of employment derived from the tourism industry. It is disappointing, however, that an international icon like our Great Ocean Road has not made the list of the top nine most affected regions. According to projections, in a best-case scenario, the region looks to lose 33% of its visitor spend and jobs derived from tourism; worst case, that figures jumps to 45% when compared to last year.

“VTIC looks forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that Victoria’s tourism regions secure their share of the $100 million allocated to major tourism infrastructure projects under the Building Better Regions Fund,” concluded Ms Mariani.