Great Ocean Road Overlooked for Tourism GrantsMedia Release
Local Federal MP Libby Coker is stunned the Morrison Government has failed to include the Great Ocean Road and Bellarine regions in its Regional Tourism Recovery Fund.
Ms Coker said it was extremely disappointing the Great Ocean Road and Bellarine regions were overlooked considering the significant downturn in international, interstate and Melbourne visitation.
“Almost 6.4 million domestic and international visitors made their way down the Great Ocean Road last year. Business Victoria estimates tourism contributes $1.6 billion to our local economy and helps generate 13,100 jobs in our region,” the Corangamite MP said.
On Sunday, the Federal Government announced $50 million in grants for regions heavily reliant on international tourism.
“While any support for the tourism sector is a positive step, the measures announced will do little to assist tour operators and the many hundreds of small businesses. Many of these businesses have been decimated by the lack of international and interstate travel,” Ms Coker said.
“It is short-sighted of the Morrison Government to leave our region out of the funding. Tourism Australia loves to champion the Great Ocean Road but when it comes to stimulus funding for Victoria, we have been short changed.”
“It’s disgraceful the Government has turned a blind eye to our region in the same week it has withdrawn the JobKeeper and JobSeeker support for businesses and workers.”
“I have written to the Minister for Tourism, Senator Simon Birmingham, to inform him of my region’s dismay at the lack of support from the Federal Government and to urge the Morrison Government to reconsider and include the Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine in the Regional Tourism Recovery Fund.”
Research from Planning Victoria estimates approximately 12 and 34 per cent of international visitors to Australia and Victoria respectively visited the Great Ocean Road during their trip.
Ms Coker said with international borders unlikely to re-open for some time businesses need support now.
“How many tourism operators in our region will be forced to join the Centrelink queues before this Government delivers a plan to support this vital industry?”
Damien Cerantonio, owner of the Great Ocean Road Resort and President of the Business and Tourism Anglesea Association, said the lack of Federal investment will only make the region poorer for generations to come.
"The lack of Federal investment will only make it harder for tourism businesses in the region to survive,” he said.
"It's critical we get this funding so that our region can tailor our marketing and product offerings to the domestic market, ensuring that when international visitors are allowed to travel again that these businesses are around to welcome our international visitors back.”
“For us, the summer period is not the big worry. It’s the mid-week trade and what Autumn, Winter and the early part of Spring next year looks like. We are reliant on international travel during those periods.”
“We are reliant on international travel during these periods, therefore as a region we need to invest funds into marketing campaigns and support our businesses so that they can attract domestic travellers during this ‘off-peak period’ which otherwise would be largely made up by international travellers.”Share Tweet