A travel voucher scheme will spearhead the Victorian government’s $465 million funding package for regional tourism.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Victorian Tourism Recovery Package on Wednesday ahead of the November 24 state budget.
It will include the $28 million voucher program, with up to 120,000 on offer at $200 each.
They will be available to Victorians who spend at least $400 on accommodation, tours or tourist attractions in regional Victoria and will be limited to one per household.
“It’s not the biggest amount of money but it may have the biggest impact,” Mr Andrews said.
The scheme is due to start next month and the premier promised a “common-sense, simple” process for the scheme.
He added it would be similar to voucher schemes already operating in other states.
The state’s tourism sector is already reeling from the bushfires last summer, as well as Melbourne’s lockdown that cut the city off from the rest of Victoria.
“The tourism sector and indeed regional economies … (have) done it hard this year,” Mr Andrews said.
“This package couldn’t have come at a better time.
“You can’t market what doesn’t exist – it’s already a very high-quality product, we want to take it to the next level.”
Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said the funding package would be a “powerful motivator” for people to travel to regional areas.
“There is a lot of pent-up demand … they want to travel,” he said.
Tourism bodies welcomed the package, which will also feature money for infrastructure projects and marketing.
Tourism Accommodation Australia (Victoria) general manager Dougal Hollis said it is “encouraging” that the vouchers are a central theme of the package.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council CEO Felicia Mariani called the package “unprecedented” and would help the state catch up to the rest of the country.
“Victoria’s investment in accommodation and experience development in regional areas is 10 per cent behind the national average,” she said.
“The significant commitments in this year’s budget will finally reverse the pattern.”
Also on Wednesday, the state government announced its budget would include $15.5 million towards works at Richmond’s Punt Road Oval, and $7.3 million for North Melbourne’s Arden Street home.
KEY FEATURES OF THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT’S REGIONAL TOURISM PACKAGE
* The premier said the livelihoods of more than 130,000 people in regional Victoria in next few years will depend on the tourism sector
* The Victorian Tourism Recovery Package will cost $465 million
* The headline measure is up to 120,000 tourism vouchers at $200 each, with one per household. The scheme will cost $28 million
* $149 million for new accommodation, to improve major tourist trails and promote produce
* $47.5 million for infrastructure along the Great Ocean Road
* $18.5 million for the Gippsland Tourism Recovery Package
* $150 million regional tourism investment fund
* Another $106.5 million in industry support will include a $58 million marketing boost for Visit Victoria.