The Victorian Government will offer residents the chance to apply for $200 vouchers to spend in regional areas, but the total spend will be much less than a NSW equivalent announced yesterday with a greater emphasis on boosting tourism infrastructure.
As part of the $465 million Victorian Tourism Recovery Package unveiled by Premier Daniel Andrews today, the government will give out 120,000 vouchers available to those who spend at least $400 on accommodation, attractions or tours in regional Victoria.
The $28 million scheme is expected to be up and running in December, ensuring the benefits are felt this summer when businesses need them the most.
The budget will also provide more than $149 million to build new visitor accommodation, improve major tourist trails and drive more people out to taste the state's produce, food and wine.
More than $47.5 million will build better visitor infrastructure along the Great Ocean Road, including a signature coastal walking trail along the coastline and hinterland from Fairhaven to Grey River, with up to five new swing suspension bridges providing spectacular views of Victoria's rugged Surf Coast. Some $2 million of the allocation will be used to build more campsites along the Surf Coast.
Meanwhile, the $18.5 million Gippsland Tourism Recovery Package will build new accommodation, upgrade the East Gippsland Rail Trail, improve tourism infrastructure across Victoria's east and support local jobs.
This includes $3.5 million to build 10 eco-pods at Cape Conran Coastal Park, $2 million for more campsites, and $2.5 million to help establish the Metung Hot Springs and the Nunduk Spa and Eco-Resort. The package also includes $3.85 million to provide better access to Point Hicks Lighthouse the tallest on mainland Australia.
Elsewhere in the state, $15 million will go towards works on the popular Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing hiking trail, $13 million will deliver trail heads on the Grampians Peak Trail and visitor upgrades at Mackenzie Falls, and $4.3 million will enable the continued growth of the Prosecco Road winery district including helping to establish accommodation at Dal Zotto Wines.
There is also support for the Murray River Adventure Trail, facilities at Wilsons Promontory, the Mallee Silo Art Trail, the Brambuk Cultural Centre in Halls Gap and the Ballarat Centre for Photography.
A $150 million Regional Tourism Investment Fund will fund nature-based, First Nations, arts and culture, and food and wine tourism projects, while a further $1.5 million will support First Peoples tourism businesses through advisory services, mentoring and digital skills development.
The government also announced a further $106.5 million in tourism industry support, including a $58 million marketing boost for Visit Victoria to promote the state's appeal to Victorians as well as people all over the country.
"Whether it's a day-trip with the family or a tour along our stunning coast, we're helping more people get out and enjoy the best Victoria has to offer," says Premier Andrews.
"This funding will help them tourism businesses bounce back from the challenges of this year welcoming more visitors and employing more Victorians."
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, says Victoria has some of the most amazing attractions in the world, and his government is making sure they only continue to get better and more compelling for visitors.
"Our investment in infrastructure in every corner of the state lays the foundations for a sustained recovery - and that means more jobs for Victorians," says Minister Pakula.
"Regional Victoria delivers for Victorians and visitors alike, and our commitment to infrastructure in local communities ensures people will have the best possible experience in the years ahead," adds Minister for Regional Development, Jaclyn Symes.
Photo: Brambuk, Grampians National Park. Courtesy of Visit Victoria.
Updated at 11:59am AEDT on 18 November.
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