Community facilities Sport and Recreation | May 14, 2020
Dedicated fund needed to help local tourism businesses recover
Our local tourism businesses will need a bold vision for recovery to secure jobs and bring visitors back to western Victoria as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh this week announced the Liberal Nationals’ plan for a $200-million Regional Tourism Fund to bring visitors back to country communities and lift bed night accommodation back to June 2019 levels, once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has called on the Andrews Labor Government to establish the fund, with the next stage of the Grampians Peaks Trail and an upgrade at MacKenzie Falls among the local projects that could be funded.
“The Labor Government really must show it cares about regional Victoria and not just Melbourne by giving us our fair share,” she said.
“Attractions such as our Silo Art Trail and the Grampians Peaks Trail already draw visitors from across Victoria, interstate and overseas to spend money and time in our local towns and businesses. But extra investment to expand our drawcard experiences and upgrade other tourist attractions – such as linking the Grampians Peaks Trail to the communities of Dunkeld, Wartook, Halls Gap and Pomonal, or creating a loop trail at MacKenzie Falls – is vital to create jobs and provide continued visitation and economic benefit to our region.
“Every corner of our electorate has its own special attraction, so this fund will be an opportunity for local businesses and tourism operators to get together and put up the best ideas that will help to revitalise our area and get tourists back to our region.”
Ms Kealy said shutdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus had resulted in visitation dropping to nothing overnight.
“This funding really is required to help our local tourism businesses recover and to stimulate our regional economy after COVID-19,” she said.
Mr Walsh, who is also the Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation, said the fund was part of the Liberal Nationals’ plan to get Victorians back to work and back in business.
“Our country communities and small businesses have been hit hard by drought, bushfires, and now the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
“Tens of thousands of regional Victorians who rely on their jobs in the tourism sector to pay the bills and put food on the table are counting on the Andrews Labor Government to get them back to work and back in business.”
The Liberal Nationals are calling for a dedicated $200 million Regional Tourism Fund to be immediately established by the Andrews Labor Government to support our country communities and bring visitors back to regional Victoria.
With an aim to return the tourism sector to June 2019 bed night accommodation levels by June 2021, this fund should provide targeted support to tourism in different regions to:
• assist operators to get back on their feet;
• promote Victorian tourism destinations; and
• upgrade tourism-related infrastructure.
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