The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcomes the announcement today from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, that the Federal Government has committed $76 million to a tourism marketing package under their $2 billion bushfire recovery fund.
The tourism industry across Australia has experienced catastrophic downturn in business off the back of the unprecedented bushfires that have ravaged Northeast Victoria, the South Coast of NSW and Kangaroo Island.
The industry met with the Federal Government over the past week and this recovery marketing package responds directly to calls from the tourism sector for immediate support to curtail the current crisis. Tourism contributes $152 billion to the national economy and one in thirteen people rely on the industry for employment across the country.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said: “These fires have devastated communities in East Gippsland and Victoria’s High Country and rebuilding those areas must be the key priority for Government; but the bushfire crisis this year has created a cashflow crisis for tourism businesses across the state and across the country as visitors have cancelled their travel plans and forward bookings have all but dried up.”
The urgency of this undertaking is underpinned by the fact that Tourism Australia will re-enter the domestic marketing space to work in collaboration with the state marketing bodies to deliver this much-needed promotion of our industry.
“Tourism operators generate more than half their annual income in these first few months of the year, and they’ve lost this crucial income period. Getting visitors back on the road and travelling across our State and across the country is vital to the sustainability of this industry. Encouraging Australians to travel in their own backyard is the low-hanging fruit in this complex recovery strategy,” Ms Mariani said.
The $76 million package has five key components designed to reinvigorate the ailing industry, with a major focus on domestic and international marketing campaigns, a regional tourism and events fund and major investment in engaging international media and influencers to convey positive stories about the many areas of Australia that are untouched by this disaster.
“The $20 million investment in a domestic cooperative campaign is hugely important for our industry. For most operators, domestic visitation is the largest proportion of their business and a significant spend to get Australians travelling again and visiting our regional areas is vital.
“We also know that regional events are major drawcards in attracting visitors and it’s great to see that the Government has included a $10 million allocation of funds to create and deliver events in regional areas that can kick-start our revitalisation.”
The package also includes $25 million for a global marketing campaign to stem the tide of cancellations from key overseas markets that are high as 40 per cent from some European source markets. There’s also a $16 million injection of funds to support international media hosting programs to counter the disastrous images that overseas markets have been seeing of Australia and supporting operators to attend the this year’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).
“With ATE being hosted this year in Melbourne, it presents Victoria with a tremendous opportunity to really shine in front of the international media and trade that will converge on our city and state in May. We have a golden moment to reinvigorate Victoria’s reputation around the world and this will help in making sure that we maximise this potential,” Ms Mariani said.
“This funding package is welcome recognition by Government of the important role that tourism plays in driving the economic fortunes of our country, particularly across our regions. It will be imperative that the agreed programs are delivered in collaboration with the States and Regional Tourism Boards to ensure funds are applied in the most effective ways to drive the greatest outcomes.”