DESPITE a global economic downturn and discount airfares to tropical holiday destinations, the Great Ocean Road holds its dominance as regional Victoria’s biggest tourism drawcard.
Last financial year an estimated 7.45 million tourists from across Australia and overseas spent an estimated $1.5 billion in the region, according to Tourism Victoria figures.
The estimated 2.36 million overnight visitors at destinations along the iconic coastal route was down 5.1 per cent on the previous financial year while the estimated 159,300 international overnight visitors was up by 2.6 per cent.
They were less reluctant to spend with the $1.43 billion from domestic visitors down 9.6 per cent and the $84 million from internationals down 31 per cent.
“These figures demonstrate the significance of the tourism industry to our region,” Shipwreck Coast Marketing chief executive Carole Reid said.
“This industry generates more jobs than fisheries, agriculture and forestry combined.
“But we are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn and airfares and packages persuading Victorians to head north for winter.
“Length of stay has increased marginally and anecdotally bookings for the September school holidays were better than last year.”
The Grampians also fared well with about 1.4 million visitors spending about $1.75m.
Domestic overnight visitors jumped 16.7 per cent to 760,000 while domestic day trip estimates fell 36.8 per cent to 635,000. There was a 20.9 per cent increase in estimated overnight visitors to 35,100.
On an expenditure basis the $301,000 spent by domestic and overnight visitors was down by one per cent.
“It shows that consumers are not just thinking about a holiday in the Grampians, they are booking and staying for longer periods,” Grampians Tourism chief executive Will Flamstead said.
“It is estimated tourists spend approximately $175 million in the region per year which generates a direct and indirect economic impact of nearly $224 million.”