Victoria’s tourism sector has emerged as a winner in the 2018/19 State Budget.
The announcement of $153 million under the Geelong Regional City Deal to fund the Geelong Convention Centre and Phase 2 of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan over four years is welcomed by Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC).
Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said it was pleasing to see the State Government commit to funding 50 percent of these two vital projects at the urging of VTIC.
“We are now calling on the Federal Government to match this funding in its budget next week to enable these projects to proceed,” she said.
Training and education, another VTIC priority, were also well funded with the announcement of 30 apprenticeships and 18 pre-apprenticeships that will see free TAFE courses available to eligible students in priority industries, including Hospitality.
“VTIC is keen to also encourage secondary school students to consider a career in tourism as a key driver of Victoria’s economy.
“The Government’s new Head Start Apprenticeships and Traineeships Program will allow us to engage at this early level to position our industry as a good career choice,” Ms Mariani said.
Ms Mariani was also pleased to see the Treasurer commit investment in Victoria’s nature-based tourism initiatives, with the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Masterplan receiving $2 million to develop a business case, a long-standing recommendation by VTIC.
Other investments in nature-based tourism includes funding for cycling infrastructure across the Grampians Region, a multi-sport Murray River Adventure Trail, along with $117.1 million for Parks Victoria to enhance their offering to locals and visitors alike.
VTIC is proud to see that Business Events Victoria (BEV) has received $800,000 over two years, a great win for the state’s only body to specialise in attracting business events into regional Victoria.
Ms Mariani said while these funding announcements are great for our industry, there are a number of priorities that were not committed to in this budget and VTIC will be advocating strongly on behalf our members to ensure these positions are satisfied.
“While both Visit Victoria and the Melbourne Convention Bureau received additional short-term funding as part of the budget, longer term funding is certainly required to maintain the state’s competitiveness.
“VTIC reinforces the importance of ensuring the financial sustainability of the organisations tasked with promoting and driving Victorian tourism.
“We look forward to working with Government and all parties in the lead up to the election to ensure that our industry priorities are met,” Ms Mariani said.