THE south-west’s peak tourism body has blasted the state’s major parties for ignoring the region’s tourism industry in their election campaigns.
Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism (GORRT) said it was disappointed not to receive a formal response from any of the major parties to the $100 million Tourism Jobs Growth Fund it proposed earlier this month to reverse the decline in visitor numbers along the Great Ocean Road.
GORRT chairman Wayne Kayler-Thomson said “it seems that there is no interest in growing jobs in non-marginal electorates, even though the whole state benefits”.
“However we remain committed to continuing to advocate for increased investment in the development, maintenance and renewal of the most significant tourism region for Victoria outside of Melbourne to create jobs, especially jobs for the youth in the region,” Mr Kayler-Thomson said.
The Tourism Jobs Growth fund proposed by GORRT was seeking an investment in tourism along the Great Ocean Road and elsewhere in the region of $100 million over four years by the next state government.
The proposal identified 14 initial projects that could deliver an estimated 1460 tourism jobs by the fourth year of the next state parliamentary term and reduce the south-west and Warrnambool unemployment rate from 9.5 per cent to 7.2 per cent.
Mr Kayler-Thomson said tourism delivered significant returns to the region’s economy.
It contributed 7094 direct and 4828 indirect jobs and provided a significant opportunity to address high unemployment in the region, GORRT said.
He said the fund proposal was too important to abandon and GORRT would continue to lobby for it with the government that was elected this Saturday, November 29.
Mr Kayler-Thomson warned the government and industry not to be complacent about tourism.