News In BriefTourism

$2.7bn construction blitz will boost tourism, says VTIC

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) has welcomed Premier Daniel Andrews’ freshly announced Building Works package, which will invest $382 million in upgrades, maintenance and new experiences for tourism destinations across the state.

As a result of the declining employment rate and with a strong focus on reanimating the tourism sector and creating jobs, the Victorian Government has committed $2.7 billion in shovel-ready projects to get people back to work. Today’s investment includes funding for hundreds of smaller projects that require limited planning and budget, and can commence immediately, with some projects set to begin within three weeks.

Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said: “This pandemic has been devastating for the tourism and events sector. With mandatory restrictions affecting the majority of operators, and in many cases leaving them with no choice but to close their doors, today’s announcement has offered some relief in what has been, and still is, a very unsettling and uncertain time.

“VTIC has been working closely with the State Government to encourage investment in building compelling visitor experiences that will drive a domestic-led tourism recovery across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

“The investment announced today represents a crucial step forward in the state’s commitment to ‘build back better’ as we look to reanimate an industry that’s been devastated firstly by bushfires, and now coronavirus.”

The investment also offers longer-term benefits in providing an attractive offering to international tourists once Victoria is able to welcome visitors back, ensuring the state is well positioned as a world-class travel destination.

“This funding will also help in supporting our regional areas where tourism contributes $8.1 billion to the economy, and prior to the current crisis, employed more than 92,000 people,” Ms Mariani said.

Projects within the $382 million investment will cover developments in just about every part of the state, from 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in the Ararat Hills to upgrading the Paynesville Boardwalk in the Gippsland Lakes.

In addition to tourism infrastructure projects, the transport network will also receive a boost with $328 million allocated to resurfacing and patching roads, repairs and maintenance to trains and trams, plus local pier upgrades along the coast, all critical infrastructure needed to assist Victoria’s tourism destinations.

“With restrictions lifting and an easing of state border controls imminent, these works support the return of a vibrant domestic travel market. It’s imperative that we prepare well in the time we have right now to create the compelling reasons to travel to and within our beautiful state.

“We’re encouraged to see a roadmap to recovery through announcements like the launch of the Building Works package,” Ms Mariani concluded.

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