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State Budget recognises visitor economy can drive recovery

Tuesday 24, Nov 2020

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council today welcomed billions of dollars of State Government investment designed to kick-start an industry decimated by pandemic lockdowns and bushfire.

VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said Victoria’s tourism and events sector was the first industry to be affected by the global shutdown earlier this year, and the last sector to emerge from restrictions.

“Today’s injection of resources is the vital kick-start the industry needs, with funding for creative projects and activations, infrastructure development, industry support, and marketing and promotion across both regional Victoria and Melbourne,” Ms Mariani said.

“In our Visitor Economy Recovery Plan, VTIC called for $1.3 billion over four years to support the sector to emerge from the trauma of the past year.
“The $38 million per annum over four years that has been added to the state’s major events fund means that Victoria will be armed with nearly $100 million a year to seek out and attract major events to Melbourne and Victoria.

“This investment will ensure that our position as the major events capital of Australia is retained.”

Today’s budget provided further detail on the $465 million Victoria Tourism Recovery Package, which includes investment in major infrastructure projects across regional Victoria, $58 million per annum over three years for intra- and interstate marketing, four-year forward funding to support the work of Regional Tourism Boards, and $150 million to fund a Regional Tourism Investment Fund.

Mr Mariani said four-year funding for Regional Tourism Boards provided welcome certainty, although the funding levels had not increased for eight years.
“The challenges and expectations on these Boards to deliver on behalf of the operators in their regions has grown exponentially. Better resourcing is critical to their success.”

VTIC welcomed the previously announced $5 billion commitment to the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, a critical project long supported by industry.
The budget also included significant investment to support Melbourne’s reputation as a vibrant destination, with a focus on arts and culture.

In addition to the $152 million over four years to support major events, $1.4 billion was announced for the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation, $17.2 million for outdoor creative activations across the city, $142 million to protect the experience economy with support to our major cultural icons and attractions, and $50 million toward a joint funding program with the City of Melbourne, creating a $100 million fund to reinvigorate the CBD.

VTIC will continue to argue for business events funding after receiving just $9.7 million for one year.

“The VTIC Recovery Plan called for $15 million per annum over four years to support the task of rebuilding our devastated business events sector. Victoria has lost major ground to NSW and Queensland and the sector needs to see a significant investment to be nationally competitive.”