THE south-west has Victoria’s most valuable regional tourism industry, with the sector contributing $1.83 billion to the district’s economy.
Research released yesterday by Victorian Tourism Minister Louise Asher also showed tourism generated 20,000 jobs in the south-west region.
The research by Tourism Victoria and Deloitte Access Economics showed the $1.83 billion contributed directly and indirectly by tourism to the Great Ocean Road region in 2011-2012 comprised 11.1 per cent of the local economy, or gross regional product (GRP) as it was termed in the report.
The state’s next most valuable tourism area is the Murray region that generates $1.67 billion.
In the Grampians region, tourism contributes $949 million to its local economy, or 22.2 per cent of GRP, and generates employment for about 8300 people.
Ms Asher said the research showed tourism generated a total of $10.9 billion to the state’s regional economies and employment for 109,000 people both directly and indirectly in 2011-12.
“Regional Victoria has a greater reliance on the tourism sector than Melbourne, contributing 13.9 per cent of regional Victoria’s total gross regional product,” Ms Asher said.
“As a labour-intensive industry, tourism also contributes significantly to regional development through employment generation, contributing 12.8 per cent of total regional employment and with more people employed in tourism in regional Victoria than in Melbourne,” she said.
Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism (GORRT) interim chairman Wayne Kayler-Thomson said the region was the state’s most visited tourism district.
Mr Kayler-Thomson said while visitor numbers to the region were increasing, GORRT aimed to increase visitors’ length of stay and their expenditure by giving them a wider range of tourism experiences.
However increasing the region’s tourism yield faced challenges from cheap overseas holidays and the short time that many people had for holidays.
“People are taking short breaks rather than long ones,” Mr Kayler-Thomson said.
He said GORRT also aimed to spread the benefits of tourism further beyond the Great Ocean Road and into the hinterland.