Victoria’s peak tourism industry body today said that the industry is encouraged by the pre-election commitments from both major parties to grow tourism in 2015 and beyond.
“Support for key tourism infrastructure, the growth of cultural events and the development of industry skills is in keeping with our ongoing policy agenda and is welcomed by the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC),” said VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith.
Major commitments include:
- The Coalition’s decision to expand the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), as well as to fund a feasibility study on a similar centre in Geelong.
“VTIC applauds the Coalition Government’s decision to expand MCEC, and urges Victorian Labor to echo this commitment for the significant benefit it will bring to Victoria’s business events and tourism sector,” said Ms Smith
- Bipartisan support for the Tullamarine Freeway upgrade, which will improve reliability and cut travel times for visitors who rely on this crucial road.
Attraction and experience marketing
- The Coalition’s funding commitment for the promotion of Victorian attractions and experiences to boost attendance from local, interstate and international visitors. International high growth markets such as China and South East Asia will be particularly targeted.
Workforce skill development
- Strong commitments to apprenticeships and training by both parties to support the creation of a well-trained, job-ready tourism workforce.
Particularly supported is Victorian Labor’s commitment to reforming the vocational education and training system by improving VET regulation and undertaking a review of VET funding.
Cultural events and nature-based attractions
- Bipartisan support for the further development of the Grampians Peaks Trail to boost Victoria’s nature-based tourism credentials, and support for Sovereign Hill’s Blood on the Southern Cross experience.
“The Grampians Peaks Trail development will position Victoria as a key nature-based tourism destination, which will lead to significant job creation and economic benefit,” said Ms Smith.
- Victorian Labor’s commitment to investing in upgrading the iconic Palais Theatre and a Victorian Wine Tourism Strategy to grow regional tourism.
- The Coalition’s pledge to create the Regional Live Music Strategy to boost medium sized events, its commitment to upgrade visitor facilities at Puffing Billy’s Belgrave station and its continued support for the National Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda.
Melbourne’s reputation as the global sporting and cultural capital will also be further strengthened after government commitments to extend the Melbourne Grand Prix contract and host soccer’s 2015 International Champions Cup Australia. Bipartisan support to upgrade the Junction Oval is also welcome.
Tourism could create nearly 9,000 additional jobs for Victoria over the next two years if the right policy settings are in place, according to VTIC research.
“As a growth sector in a rapidly changing economy, tourism has great job creation potential as it brings in visitors who spend money, which creates jobs and sustains communities,” said Ms Smith.
“We welcome both major parties’ commitments to progressing our key priorities this election.”