Victorian tourism is breaking records, bolstered by unprecedented growth in international visitors drawn to country and regional areas.
Tourism Research Australia reported that in the year to March, Victoria welcomed 3.1 million international tourists – up 5 per cent on the previous year.
The rise in regional Victoria was even more pronounced at more than triple the national regional average – up 12 per cent compared with 3.3 per cent in other states.
Great Ocean Road hosted 245,200 international tourists, an increase of 10.9 per cent over 12 months.
Chinese visitors continue to lead the charge to Victoria with almost 680,000 visitors in the past year. Total spending by Chinese tourists was $3.2 billion.
A significant increase in visitor spending was also recorded by visitors from the United States – up 14 per cent thanks in part to the launch of direct flights between Melbourne and San Francisco.
These key growth figures show Victoria is on track to reach the Andrews Labor Government’s goal of growing the state’s total international and domestic visitor expenditure to $36.5 billion by 2025.
Last year, total visitor expenditure was $28.7 billion, supporting more than 214,000 jobs including 85,600 in regional areas.
Tourism accounts for 10 per cent of all jobs in regional Victoria, underscoring the strategic importance of the industry outside the metropolitan area.
While the new international visitor figures are welcome, more can always be done.
That’s why the Labor Government is conducting the Regional Tourism Review, led by Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas, to investigate ways to expand the industry and boost local businesses and jobs.
Ms Thomas has led consultation around the state and a discussion paper will be released for public comment in coming months.
Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney
“Our region has so much going for it and that is increasingly becoming known around the world.”
“From natural wonders and amazing wildlife to world-class food and wine and unbeatable events, there has never been a better time to visit.”
“The influx of overseas visitors means more work for local businesses and more jobs – and that’s great news in anyone’s language.”