Victoria’s peak tourism body has welcomed a $350,000 State Government funding announcement for tourism initiatives across regional Victoria, but says given disappointing visitor numbers to the regions and recent regional job losses, more funding is needed.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) Chief Executive Dianne Smith says, “Many industries are struggling in regional Victoria and this has resulted in job losses that further add to the strain. The tourism and events industries diversify the economy and are great employers. These industries should be considered a high priority at all levels of government.
“The latest national and international visitor surveys show an overall decline in regional visitation and expenditure from both international and domestic visitors which is not good news for tourism and events operators.”
National Visitor Survey numbers report domestic overnight expenditure in regional Victoria declined year-on-year (to March 2013), driven by the interstate market, while overnight visitors to regional Victoria also decreased year-on-year, following declines in both interstate and intrastate visitation.
The International Visitor Survey shows overall international visitor expenditure in regional Victoria also decreased following declines in visitors.
While the Grampians and Goldfields regions experienced year-on-year growth in estimated international visitor numbers, the rest of the state’s regions experienced declines.
“While we understand that each region starts from a different base, making the results difficult to compare, there is definitely cause for concern here,” says Ms Smith. “The industry needs a dedicated approach from governments to ensure its long-term prosperity.
“Tourism and events disperse economic benefits throughout the state and this has flow on effects to all industries. As our economy looks to diversify, tourism and events should be a priority on government agendas.”
Tourism is an important economic contributor to regional Victoria with $7.3 billion spent by international overnight, domestic overnight and domestic daytrip visitors to regional Victoria in 2012. More than 200,000 people are employed in Victoria’s tourism and events industry.