How long before Victorian tourism bounces back?

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Empty feeling ... it will be a long road back for Victoria's tourism industry.

While Covid-19 infections in Victoria continue to trend downwards, the damage the pandemic lockdowns have caused to the tourism industry in the state will reverberate long into the future.

Back in April – even before the second wave took hold – the Great Ocean Road Tourism Organisation released modelling that found the region would not fully recover until 2024.

The organisation’s chairman, Wayne Kayler-Thomson, told the ABC that they were updating that economic modelling now that Victoria had been locked down even longer than initially expected.

“We are anticipating there will be significant business failures once support through JobKeeper ends and increasing debt starts to mount,” he said.

In announcing the Victorian Government’s biggest ever business stimulus package, Premier Daniel Andrews said it would be a ‘summer like no other’ in Victoria. He said that with some interstate travel restrictions likely to remain in place, regional Victoria was set to be the main choice of destination for many Melburnians.

However, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council told the ABC that regional tourism operators could not survive off tourists from Melbourne alone.

“We’re all dying to get out but I think we need to be realistic in that intrastate travel cannot sustain the industry,” VTIC chief executive Felicia Mariani said. “It can’t replace interstate and international.”

While there is now a road map for restrictions in Victoria to be gradually eased, the pain being felt by many tourist-dependent businesses is real. The jewel in the tourism crown has long been the Great Ocean Road, but this has largely been empty of tourists throughout the state’s lockdowns.

Many tourist attractions have been doing it extremely tough, including the long-established Colac Otway Lightstation which has just announced it will cease operations next March. The lighthouse site at Cape Otway includes walking guides and attractions around WWII history, dinosaurs and the local Indigenous culture.

“We have a very high international and interstate visitation at the lighthouse. About 70% traditionally,” the manager of the attraction, Matt Bowker, told the ABC. “With none of that happening within the next year or so, we just have to look after our staff and let them know it’s unlikely we can open the doors.”

  • Will you be keen to get out and support struggling regional areas as and when you are allowed – and encouraged – to visit? Comment below.
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3 Responses to How long before Victorian tourism bounces back?

  1. It was announced today 15/9/20 that as off midnight 16/9/20 Rural VIC can travel and holiday in Rural VIC. No Greater Melbourne visits and no one from that area can travel out without appropriate permits. It was also announced the Melbourne bubble borders will be tighter and harder to get through.

    I hope it works that way as we don’t want Rural VIC to slide backwards.

    I also hope it starts to help small businesses and shops etc.

    It will be interesting times ahead I think.

  2. Even if everything opens up again I doubt that things would revert to what it was pre-Covid19 because the last time that I drove on the Great Ocean Rd there was a very high concentration of Asian tourists, and given the current tension between China and Australia, I doubt that they will return in the same numbers.

  3. Great news! We are planning on visiting the fire ravaged areas of the state first. It will be great to hit the road again. We are hoping to spend 3 months in Tasmania as soon as it is safe to travel. Lets hope we don’t get a third wave.

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