The Premier John Brumby today unveiled a $36 million package and a new multi-million campaign featuring Victoria’s iconic villages as part of a push to drive up interstate and international visitors to rural and regional Victoria.
Mr Brumby said the package was a key part of the Victorian Government’s $631 million Ready for Tomorrow: A Blueprint for Regional Victoria which delivers a new vision, backed by record funding, to deliver world-class tourism experiences in regional and rural Victoria.
Under the package, groups will have access to a new, dedicated $25 million fund to support the development of world-class infrastructure for tourism, particularly nature-based tourism projects such as walking and rail trails and state and national park upgrades.
New locally-run tourism boards will be established to identify and drive new opportunities for tourism in local communities.
“Our Government understands how important tourism is to the liveability and prosperity of our regions and today’s package is about opening the door to more opportunities for our regions to take advantage of their prime position in our stunning state,” Mr Brumby said.
“Ready for Tomorrow is a $631 million strategic investment by our Government to drive a new era of opportunity and prosperity in regional Victoria.
“Victoria’s local tourism industry provides jobs for almost 185,000 people and injects almost $16 billion into the state’s economy. We want to drive growth in this vital sector by encouraging more people to spend time in our regional and rural areas.
“This package is about encouraging more Australians, more Victorians and more international visitors to visit Victoria’s outstanding regional tourism destinations and to encourage them to spend up big while they are there.”
The Ready for Tomorrow $36 million tourism package includes:
- $25 million for new tourism assets and redevelopment of existing tourism assets with a focus on nature-based tourism infrastructure to develop key regional areas as world-class tourist destinations;
- $6 million ‘Villages of Victoria’ campaign to build on Tourism Victoria’s recent highly successful Daylesford campaign to generate awareness of Victoria’s distinctive villages;
- $2 million to be invested in the development of locally run Regional Tourism Boards to enable local operators and leaders to set the region’s overarching strategic direction;
- $1 million program for regions to improve their online marketing and online booking services;
- $1 million for new training and resources to boost customer service capacity in tourist destinations across regional Victoria; and
- $1 million for a Regional Business Events program to attract more conferences and conference delegates to regional Victoria.
Mr Brumby said the new ‘Villages of Victoria’ campaign would showcase the unique characteristics of Victoria’s villages and showcase food and wine, nature-based and spa experiences on offer in regional Victoria.
“The focus will be on getting interstate visitors and people from other parts of Victoria to discover what’s on offer in our own backyard rather than going overseas for a holiday,” he said.
“The campaign will be rolled out by Tourism Victoria over the next four years using new media including social networking, online and mobile technology as well as traditional media.
“Villages like Kyneton are just over an hour from Melbourne and have become a mecca for tourists looking for outstanding ‘foodie’ experiences as well as nature-based tourism.”
Villages which will feature include Kyneton, Daylesford, Port Fairy, Queenscliff, Castlemaine, Olinda, Metung, Beechworth, Bright, Sorrento, Walhalla, Maldon, Apollo Bay, Clunes, Healesville, Sassafras, Rutherglen, Yackandandah, Barwon Heads, Warburton, Paynesville, Halls Gap, Port Campbell, some of Victoria’s Alpine Villages and in future years, Marysville.
Tourism to regional Victoria has remained strong despite the challenges of the past 12 months including the Global Financial Crisis, Black Saturday bushfires and swine flu.
International visitor expenditure in regional Victoria increased by 7.5 per cent for the year ending March 2010, reaching $300 million.
Ms Allan said investing in locally run tourism boards and providing the opportunity for greater training and skills in the tourism industry would help make a stronger regional tourism
“The new Regional Tourism Boards will be made up of local representatives and set up across Victoria,” Ms Allan said.
“In addition to luring more people to Victoria’s regional gems, we are also helping developing skills of local tourism operators and improving regional local tourism networks so that each region has a world-class offering.
“In many towns around Victoria new jobs are being created are in the tourism industry and we want to ensure that staff have the right skills.”
Ms Allan said for the first time $1 million would be allocated for a Regional Business Events program to attract more conferences and conference delegates to regional Victoria.
“Increased business event activity in regional Victoria will provide regional destinations with an alternative visitor market from the holiday market, as well as showcase regional villages, towns and employment opportunities,” she said.
Ms Allan said the coming blueprint would help consolidate growth in regional areas and share economic benefits across the regions, including areas affected by bushfires, drought and changing economic conditions.
“Regional Victoria has more jobs, more people and a stronger economy today than 10 years ago. The Blueprint will build on that growth to ensure that regional Victoria is prosperous, liveable and sustainable in the long term,” she said.
This package is in addition to the $7.3 million Daylesford interstate campaign, the current $6 million Regional Marketing Program for Victoria’s regions and the joint Commonwealth and State government’s $10 million bushfire tourism recovery package.