The regional tourism industry is facing challenging times and a fresh and competitive approach is imperative, says the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) in response to the latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) results.
VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith says, “The results for regional Victoria are concerning, particularly with expenditure down more than 20 per cent year on year.
“Around 30 per cent of Victoria’s more than 70,000 tourism businesses are located in regional Victoria. This downturn will have flow-on effects throughout our regions, with less money being generated and possibly leading to future employment ramifications.
“These results show there is a clear disparity between metro and regional Victorian results which means now, more than ever, that a coordinated and rejuvenated approach from both the tourism industry and policy makers is required.
“Our regional industry must continue to diversify its offerings and ensure high quality experiences for our visitors. Tourism operators must work together to make their destinations so compelling that length of our visitors’ stay is increased.
“Government also has an important role to play and must reassess its approach to regional tourism policy to ensure the policy framework allows industry to thrive.”
International visitor expenditure in Victoria grew by 6.1 per cent to $4.6 billion, in line with the national average of 6 per cent. However, Ms Smith says, as has been the recent trend, regional Victoria is faring much worse than Melbourne.
“Melbourne is doing well. Our task now is to draw these visitors out into our great regions,” says Ms Smith.
The full IVS analysis for the June quarter 2013 can be viewed at Tourism Research Australia.