Nearly $20 million in state and federal funding has been announced for road upgrades along the Great Ocean Road with a focus on bringing tourists inland as the region welcomes back international travellers.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan today joined Tourism Australia chief executive officer Phillipa Harrison to announce $15.64 million in federal funds ($19.55 million total) to improve the safety of popular tourist routes in the region.
Mr Tehan said the roundtable discussion with Ms Harrison, tourism operators, marketers and local government areas had emphasised the importance of marketing the region internationally.
"I know she'll take away what a great region it is, how they've got to keep marketing it because it adds value to the national income but also adds value to the regional income here," he said.
"We've got to work and make sure we're doing that marketing off the back of the international market that is taking place.
"Obviously getting tourists to the region is important and we're lucky we have such a wonderful icon in the Twelve Apostles to do that but it's a matter of us all working together to make that dispersal work.
"The key to that is to make sure once people come here, letting them know of all the wonderful things they can do and there are so many wonderful things whether its wining and dining, visiting our cultural heritage, the great walks they can do.
"All those things and many more are key to making sure people stay when they visit."
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Mr Tehan said the region was "really well placed" for a rebound backed by international arrivals.
"You look at Budj Bim and you look at rock art in the Grampians and you look at the wonderful food that we produce - we are very well placed to really see a strong rebound when it comes to international tourism visitation," he said.
"(Then) If you look and think about backpackers, the waiving of the visa fee which is 490 dollars that's about 50 per cent of what they would pay for a one way international airfare.
"By the sound of things it sounds like they're saying now is the time for them to book that airfare."
Corangamite Shire Council mayor Ruth Gstrein said the funds were much-needed.
"We're going to see key inland routes getting a much-needed facelift particularly the Cobden-Port Campbell Road, there's been issues we've been advocating for many, many years.
"It's absolutely fantastic to have Dan Tehan our local member here today making this announcement."
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