More Australians are holidaying at home which is helping tourism growth across Gippsland.
The National Visitor Survey, released today (September 20, 2017) reveals more Australians are choosing to holiday within Australia and more tourists are visiting the Gippsland region.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is currently in the midst of a ‘Take a Break in Gippsland’ tourism campaign, encouraging people to spend their holidays in Gippsland and support local businesses.
He said ongoing investment in tourism infrastructure was vital to continue growing the sector.
“The survey showed people are coming to Gippsland, staying longer and spending more – but it also showed that, on average, tourists are staying less nights than the national average,” Mr Chester said.
“Gippsland visitor numbers have increased by 27% in the past year compared to 5% nationally, so people are aware of what’s on offer in Gippsland and they are prepared to travel here.
“The average spend correlates with increased visitor numbers: up 31% in Gippsland compared to a 7% increase nationally.
“What’s interesting is that visitors to Gippsland are staying an average three nights compared to the national average of four nights.
“The length of stay in Gippsland has steadily increased over the past three years, so it is pleasing to see tourists are staying longer than they have in the past.
“But the challenge is to continue building the right infrastructure to further grow our tourism industry and create more local jobs.
“We need to keep tourists here longer to gain maximum benefit for local businesses – a thriving tourism industry is vital to a prosperous Gippsland.”
Mr Chester said the survey reported specific figures for the ‘Gippsland Lakes’ tourism region, which covers the East Gippsland Shire.
While visitor numbers to the East Gippsland Shire continued to increase, the average spend and length of stay in this part of Gippsland had not increased like other parts of the region.
“It is pleasing to see visitor numbers to the Gippsland Lakes region are 11% higher than last year, totaling 753,000 for the year,” Mr Chester said.
“But the average spend of $299 per person in the Gippsland Lakes region has remained stagnant in the past 12 months; and the length of stay is not growing as it is in other areas.”
Mr Chester said the Federal Government was committed to improving infrastructure across the region and had recently announced $5 million to upgrade The Esplanade at Lakes Entrance as part of a $50 million upgrade to the Princes Highway between Sale and the New South Wales border.
“We have also provided funding to upgrade rest areas in Cann River, which will encourage tourists to stop and spend money in the town, as part of a $10 million upgrade of the Monaro highway. A further $10 million will be spent upgrading the Great Alpine Road.
“I will continue working with governments at all levels to secure funding for new infrastructure that will further encourage tourism and increase the length of stay across Gippsland.”
The National Visitor Survey covers tourism data to the year ending June 2017. The NVS is produced by Tourism Research Australia and available at: www.tra.gov.au