- Published on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 15:39
Article Read: 1000
About 450 Victorian tourism businesses will be hit with a fee hike as the Victorian government raises the levee for nature-based tourism operators.
From July 1 next year, tourism operators will face a rise in annual payments from $55 to $110. The fee increase will see businesses pay $2.40 per visitor for the first 5000 visitors up from the current $1.10.
About 450 Victorian tourism businesses operate under nature-based tourism licences issued by Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Tourism operations carried out on public land such as bush walking, coach tours, four-wheel drive tours and mountain biking require licences. Permits are only issued for a period of one or three years, restricting the ability of operators to plan for the future.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council CEO Todd Blake said the nature-based tourism industry needed greater assurance. "Effectively, an operator has no guarantee of obtaining or renewing the very permit that allows them to access the public land asset that is the basis of their business," Mr Blake said. "Without guaranteed, long-term access to a public land asset, a nature-based business is virtually untenable."