Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan | Adjournment & Response

Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (17:03): My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, the Honourable Martin Pakula. The launch of the four-year Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan is a significant boost for the economy—reeling under the strains of the global pandemic and the bushfires. The plan supports the quick recovery of the domestic market and sets out a framework to build a vibrant and resilient sector into the future when the international market returns. The government’s $633 million investment targets an ambitious goal of $35 billion in annual visitor expenditure. This investment is inclusive of $465 million in the Victorian tourism recovery package and a $152 million boost to the Major Events Fund to secure more crowd-pulling attractions announced in the 2020–21 budget. The tourism industry suffered an estimated net loss of $19.5 billion in 2020, and this investment will help the sector to recover from the pandemic’s impact.

Representing the Western Metropolitan Region, which includes the Werribee Mansion and Werribee Open Range Zoo, I know how important tourism is to my local area. I am also aware of how important it is here in Bright, with the alpine region and great food and beverage offerings. The action I seek from the minister is to provide me with an update on how the Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan will support jobs in the tourism industry, which plays such an important role in the Victorian economy.


MARTIN PAKULA MP Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events (21 October 2021):

The Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan (VERRP) is a whole-of-state visitor economy strategy, with a goal of reaching $35 billion in annual visitor spend and generating 300,000 additional jobs by June 2024.

In the year ending December 2019, tourism contributed $32.5 billion to the state’s revenue, employing 263,300 people and delivering 6.5 per cent of gross state product. However, the bushfires and pandemic resulted in a $19.5 billion decrease in visitor expenditure in 2020. The VERRP confirms the Victorian Government’s commitment to supporting the tourism and travel sector as a significantly impacted industry.

The VERRP will support jobs in the tourism industry through a $633 million investment including:

  • $44 million for the Regional and Melbourne Travel Voucher Programs
    • To date, more than 80,000 vouchers have been claimed totalling $16.161 million
    • Victorians using the vouchers have already reported spending more than $114 million on travel in Victoria.
  • $149 million to deliver flagship projects across Victoria that can create a halo effect and spur private investment and new products in surrounding areas, for example:
    • Wilson’s Prom Revitalisation – strengthening the iconic Wilson’s Prom as a protective habitat and enhancing visitor facilities and infrastructure.
    • Maximising Mallee Art Silos – through improved visitor experiences, visitor servicing and enabling infrastructure needed to capitalise on silo art visitation to the region.
    • Prosecco Road – delivering early infrastructure works such as outdoor art along the Wangaratta to Whitfield Road, township directional and interpretive signage and a visitor experience at Dal Zotto Wines.
    • Falls to Hotham Crossing Stage 1 – creating an iconic facilitated walk across the high plains between Falls Creek and Mount Hotham ski resorts.
  • $150 million to deliver a Regional Tourism Investment Fund with support available for enabling infrastructure, priority private-led projects and nature-based products on public land
    • Of this, $46 million has been allocated as part of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund – Stimulus Round for 30 small-scale shovel ready tourism projects including:
      • $500,000 for All Saints Estate, Cellar Door and Restaurant
      • $2 million for Mt Buller Mountain Biking Trails
      • $1.77 million for Blue Gums to Eildon Rail Trail
      • $1.2 million for Great Victorian Rail Trail art installations.
  • $106.5 million for marketing, industry skills and development, including:
    • $3 million to improve visitor engagement services.
    • $58 million for destination marketing to rebuild visitor demand, including:

–          The Visit Melbourne interstate campaign launched in February 2021 to remind Australians about the depth and breadth of experiences on offer in Melbourne

–          The Stay Close, Go Further intrastate campaign launched in November 2020 to encourage Victorians to travel within Victoria.

  • $4.8 million to deliver a state-wide destination master plan and priority sector plans including First People’s and nature-based tourism.
  • $8 million to support vital industry development activities, including crisis management support, digital capability, and workforce skills planning.
  • $15.4 million to support Regional Tourism Boards, including their transition into a new network of Visitor Economy Partnerships, and strengthen their leadership capabilities and links between community, councils, government and industry.

Our investment of $633 million across four years will develop and improve the visitor experience and, as the tourism market grows more competitive, encourage public and private investment to grow the visitor base and inspire visitors to stay longer and spend more.

By working with industry, the community and other key stakeholders, the government will help the industry to recover and grow, and support thousands of tourism jobs across the state.