A proposed Great Southern Ocean Bike Trail is being pitched at bringing big spending recreational cyclists to the region.
The Victorian and SA Oppositions are pledging $1 million for a feasibility plan for the trail if elected, a planned 1200 kilometre route from Melbourne to Adelaide featuring a series of tourism-focused loops for the novice rider, families and more experienced cyclists.
Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the trail would be “an economic and tourism boon for regional Victoria (with) significant benefits to a large number of regional communities with significant spin-offs in food and wine, accommodation, nature based tourism and other sectors”.
“Cycling tourism is part of Victoria’s tourist future and a huge opportunity for our state,” Mr Guy said.
“I want to see Victoria have Australia’s first interstate bike trail and tap into an entirely new range of eco-tourism options.”
The Opposition said recreational cyclists are a high yield, high-spending market who typically stay longer and the average spend per visitor is $447 per person per day.
Member for South-West Coast Roma Britnell said the region was perfectly placed for the recreational cyclist market.
“Recreational cyclists are a booming industry and because they stay longer they’d understand and take advantage of our BnBs, glamping and ecotourism advantages, the beauty in the sky and the fresh air,” she said.
“We live in an amazing part of the world and we need to plan for the future in a balanced way.”
Ms Britnell said she’d like to see the community come together to help plan the trail’s proposed tourism loops but they could include Cape Bridgewater, Childers Cove, the Great Ocean Road west of Apollo Bay, Port Fairy and also complement the 250km Great South-West Walk.
”We have to make sure we’re looking at things holistically … we can do this well, we need to work in reality and harmony.”