Victoria’s peak tourism body is calling on both major parties to commit to recommendations to grow tourism jobs in the state, as Melbourne Airport reports significant passenger growth for the past year.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) chief executive Dianne Smith said that with the appropriate policy, the tourism industry could create nearly 9,000 additional jobs for Victoria over the next two years.
Ms Smith’s comments come in the wake of Melbourne Airport reporting its total passenger numbers grew by 4 per cent during 2013/14 to 31 million passengers. International passengers increased by 9 per cent to 7.75 million; while domestic passengers grew by 2 per cent to 23.3 million.
“Both major parties must commit to our priorities if Victoria is to maximise the benefits of increased visitor numbers and drive further growth,” said Ms Smith.
VTIC recommendations include:
· Increase marketing efforts to attract more Asian visitors: targeted communications campaigns and funding to make Victoria’s key tourist attractions more appealing to this group are needed.
· Commit funding to the expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre: the centre is currently turning away around 17% of booking requests due to lack of capacity, so this is vital to ensuring Melbourne retains the significant economic benefit from being Australia’s business events capital.
“VTIC strongly supports the Airport Rail Link project for the benefit it will bring to guests coming to Victoria for both recreational and business purposes and we hope this project progresses as a priority,” said Ms Smith.
“We echo Melbourne Airport CEO Chris Woodruff’s sentiments on the need to secure better outcomes for international air service agreements for Melbourne. We must also remember that Melbourne Airport’s curfew-free status gives Victoria a distinct advantage over other states and we must ensure that this is preserved well into the future.”
“The airport experience is often an international visitor’s first impression of Melbourne, if not Australia, so the major works and improvements that Melbourne Airport outlined in their Annual Stakeholder Report are a great investment for Victorian tourism and the visitor experience.”
For more information on VTIC’s recommendations please visit www.vtic.com.au/.