By VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith
I had the pleasure of visiting the majestic sandstone landscape of the Grampians last week while participating in the Grampians Tourism industry conference. I’ve no doubt this region’s tourism leaders will realise their goals and aspirations, as there was such a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude in the room.
The Grampians Peaks Trail is a major, game-changing project for the region and a great example of what can be achieved when industry, community and government are united behind a common purpose.
My presentation focused on VTIC’s tourism policy agenda and I was pleased to see how well it resonated with these regional operators. Our key advocacy platforms of more funding for intrastate marketing, support for growing and nurturing events, getting operators online and extending the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) space were all strongly supported by the Grampians cohort.
During the next few months we will continue to amplify our tourism policy messages across the state. We’ll be calling on you, our key stakeholders, to help raise awareness of tourism as a central economic driver and a super sector of the future at a time when other sectors are contracting. Remember tourism equals jobs.
May is budget time and at both state and federal levels, tourism was largely able to maintain the status quo. Together with the National Tourism Alliance, VTIC was strongly opposed to the tourism-related recommendations in the National Commission of Audit’s report (in particular the halving of funding for Tourism Australia) and were pleased that these dire proposals were not realised. We have summarised all the tourism-related items in both budgets in an easy-to-read paper, now available on our website.
The recently announced changes to Sunday penalty rates were a long-awaited win for the hospitality industry and will go some way to addressing issues of business sustainability and opening on Sundays. This is just the first step in the ongoing battle for real industrial relations reform, which must go further to achieve meaningful bottom-line results for business. VTIC also welcomed the announcements of free tram travel in the CBD zone and free wi-fi on V/Line, all small steps to improving our state’s visitor experience.
If you would like printed copies of our policy agenda for distribution at your events or to your stakeholders, please click here.
VTIC’s Policy Committees are up for renewal at this year’s Annual General Meeting in November, and Attractions, Destinations and Tour and Transport members will need to nominate in our election process, which will begin at the end of May.
Finally, we’re excited to announce that Michael Gudinski AO is confirmed to close the Victorian Tourism Conference, delivering the final keynote speech on day two. If you haven’t already registered for the conference, to be held from 14-15 July at the Pier Precinct in Geelong, don’t delay. Book your place by clicking here