The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) today launched its election campaign, Tourism is Victoria’s Business, outlining a bold plan to make Victoria’s $25 billion tourism industry the state’s most profitable sector.
Ahead of the State Election in November, VTIC is pressing the State Government and Opposition to fund a suite of measures that will place tourism at the heart of Victoria’s economic agenda.
Launching the campaign today, VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani called on all political parties to adopt VTIC’s Five Point Plan – industry’s priorities for creating jobs and supporting business in the visitor economy:
“The upcoming election is a critical opportunity to grow tourism in Victoria – an industry that employs over 214,500 people across the state,” Ms Mariani said.
“Investment is needed to ensure Victoria emerges as the front runner in what has become an incredibly competitive landscape for tourism and events.
“Victoria currently only holds a 14% share of Australia’s $38 billion tourism development pipeline – ranking fourth behind New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. It’s simply not good enough. We need stronger investment in the industry if we want to grow Victorian jobs and the visitor economy.
“Our campaign – Tourism is Victoria’s Business – provides Government with a blueprint for creating jobs and supporting Victorian business. We are calling on all sides of politics to support Victoria’s tourism industry and commit to funding these priorities in the next term of government.”
Ms Mariani said the campaign has a strong focus on regional Victoria, including a call for reinvestment in the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund to accelerate the delivery of regional projects.
“We know that for every dollar spent in Victoria by international visitors, only 7 cents is spent in our regions. Investing in compelling regional experiences will get tourists venturing further and spending more across our great state.”
Key infrastructure projects in regional Victoria are highlighted in the campaign, with the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan the number one priority amongst a number of nature-based projects.
“The Shipwreck Coast Masterplan has bounced between all tiers of governments for decades. Our message to both parties ahead of the Victorian Election is clear: if you’re serious about creating jobs and supporting Victoria’s visitor economy, fund the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan.
“From an economic standpoint, it’s a no brainer – it will deliver $254 million in annual spending and create over 3,800 jobs for the south west region.
“The Great Ocean Road is our single biggest tourism attraction, but it is operating at the edge of capacity – it’s being loved to death. Proper investment is needed to improve safety on the Great Ocean Road, disperse our visitors across the area, encourage tourists to stay longer and spend more in the region, and most importantly, ensure this beautiful natural asset is maintained for generations to come.”
Driving ongoing international and domestic demand is another key campaign focus, with VTIC calling for long-term funding for Visit Victoria, the Melbourne Convention Bureau, and Business Events Victoria.
“Victoria is not alone in the world in trying to attract visitors – this is a crowded space and other states are incredibly well-resourced to do their jobs.
“We want to arm our demand driving bodies with long-term capabilities to deliver wins for Victoria, and to do that, we need guaranteed commitments over four years to deliver strategic marketing and event acquisition activity,” Ms Mariani said.
Rounding out the industry’s infrastructure platform are transport solutions that improve the visitor experience, including a call for the State Government to match the Federal Government in funding the Melbourne Airport rail link. Other transport initiatives include an extension of the CBD free tram zone and funding for regional ferry projects including Cowes to Stony Point and upgrades to Queenscliff – Sorrento ferry terminals.
To find out more about Tourism is Victoria’s Business campaign, including VTIC’s Five Point Plan, visit www.tourismisvictoriasbusiness.com.au