TOURISM continues to make a huge contribution to Victoria’s economy, according to the latest figures released by Tourism Research Australia.
The Regional Tourism Satellite Account results for 2016-17 found that tourism injected almost $25 billion into Victoria’s economy and generated about 215,000 jobs.
The research found that while regional employment grew at a greater rate than Melbourne over the past year, 56 per cent of tourism industry jobs are still based in the state’s capital.
Regional Victoria recorded an 8.9 per cent increase in employment estimates for 2016-17, with more than 85,000 jobs generated.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) chief executive officer Felicia Mariani said the findings reinforced the need for further investment in regional infrastructure and nature-based assets and experiences across the state.
VTIC has had some success with its “Tourism is Victoria’s Business” lobbying campaign ahead of the state election, securing a $153 million commitment from Labor towards the Geelong Convention Centre and the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan (VTIC is seeking $150 million for stage 2 of the masterplan).
The campaign also seeks $5 million for the development of the Queenscliff-Sorrento Ferry Terminals Project.
“For tourism to remain a powerhouse in driving employment and economic outcomes for the state, particularly in our regional areas, we need to see a commitment from all levels of government in Victoria to continue to investment in this vital industry,” Ms Mariani said.
“The return on investment in these areas is clearly significant in improving the economic fortunes and outlook for our regional communities and all sides of government must recognise the critical impact that the visitor economy has on our regional areas.
“VTIC’s five-point plan ‘Tourism Is Victoria’s Business’ outlines the need for improved regional infrastructure, tourism transport solutions and changes to policy and funding to ensure our naturebased tourism offering is keeping up with global consumer demands.
“Tourism agencies need guaranteed funding to effectively and creatively position our state across Australia and around the world.”