More tourism attractions need to be developed in the south-west to draw visitors beyond the 12 Apostles, Warrnambool City Council candidate Michael Neoh says.
Cr Neoh said that with Warrnambool’s population predicted to reach 40,000 by 2031, more tourism opportunities needed to be developed to provide more job opportunities, particularly for young people.
“Tourism needs to increase to bolster some of our key sectors including accommodation, food services and retail,” he said.
“We can’t put all our eggs in one basket and just rely on the promotion and development of the 12 Apostles site.
“Warrnambool needs to get on the front foot and attract of a greater share of the two million people who travel the Great Ocean Road and get them to venture beyond the 12 Apostles.”
He has put forward two ideas to attract visitors beyond the 12 Apostles, one of which is to develop Tower Hill game reserve as a world class flora and fauna reserve.
The other is the creation of a walk from the Port Fairy-Warrnambool rail to Childers Cove, south of Mepunga, taking in Warrnambool’s Promenade, Logans Beach and Lake Gillear.
”I recently walked along sections of the coastline at Lake Gillear and the sea views were magnificent and had a feeling of rugged but natural beauty,” Cr Neoh said.
“While there would need to be a considerable amount of discussion, buy-in and planning to be done with many stakeholders, both projects are achievable.
“We know the (tourist) dispersal west from the 12 Apostles is lacking at the moment so we need to look at some visionary projects to drive visitations beyond the 12 Apostles.”
Both projects could also provide construction jobs, unemployment programs and local/international volunteer initiatives, he said.