The state government should fast-track a number of projects along the Great Ocean Road to offset the impacts of the coronavirus, according to Corangamite Shire mayor Neil Trotter.
He said priorities identified in the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan - which the state government has committed $50 million to - included upgrades to carparks at the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson Steps.
Councillor Trotter said the funds, included in the Geelong City Deal, had been promised but the state government had not revealed when these works would be done.
He said the upgrades to car parking, public facilities at tourism attractions and traffic management were long overdue. Cr Trotter said tourism operators were concerned about the impacts the coronavirus would have on their businesses.
"I've heard some accommodation providers have lost up to 75 per cent of their trade," he said.
"Some are talking about the need to reduce staffing levels."
Cr Trotter said the business owners were stressed due to the uncertainty over when the virus would be controlled.
"The biggest problem is people don't know how long it will go on for," he said.
He said it didn't only affect the Chinese market, with visitors from other countries nervous about travelling due to the virus.
Cr Trotter said there would be flow-on effects to other shire towns which regularly had accommodation bookings when Port Campbell was full. He urged the state government to fast-track the upgrades to give the region's economy a much-needed boost.
"We're urging the state government to help industry by looking at getting some of these projects under way," Cr Trotter said.
"While we've got this lull there is more accommodation available for people involved.
"It would be a good time to get these projects started."
Cr Trotter also encouraged south-west residents to support tourism operators and travel domestically rather than overseas in the coming months.
On Wednesday Victorian Tourism Minister Martin Pakula announced a $5 million campaign to attract tourists to Australia.
A response from the state government was sought on Cr Trotter's request.
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