Destination Gippsland last week released an ambitious plan to grow the Gippsland visitor economy into a $1.5b industry employing 16,000 people by 2030.
Attracting higher spending visitors will be the key to generating an extra $400m per year and creating 3000 new jobs for the Gippsland economy.
The ‘Towards 2030 Gippsland Destination Management Plan’ is a 10-year strategy developed with the support of the Gippsland Regional Partnership in consultation with state and local government as well as industry and community groups.
“Tourism in Gippsland is booming, which is great news for businesses and workers across the region,” Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, said.
“It’s vital that we plan for sustainable growth in our visitor economy – growth that respects the needs of local communities while harnessing opportunities to create demand and expand jobs.”
Chairman of Destination Gippsland, Sue Smethurst, said that at a time when the traditional industries that have supported Gippsland are in decline, the visitor economy offers an exciting new chapter in Gippsland’ s story with the potential for significant job growth, prosperity and pride for every local community.
Features of the plan include recommendations to develop hero products that will attract new visitor markets to the region.
- Investing in the planning and infrastructure at the famous Buchan Caves;
- Revitalising the Lakes Entrance Marine Precinct;
- Attracting a Destination Restaurant – on land or potentially underwater;
- Creating the Gippsland Lakes Aquatic Trail that would be a unique combination of walking, cycling and paddling experiences;
- Positioning the Coastal Wilderness Walk (from Marlo to Point Hicks) and the George Bass Ocean Walk (that links the towns from Phillip Island to Inverloch) as the next iconic walks in Victoria;
- Ensuring Wilsons Promontory remains one of Australia’ s best national parks with an innovative Sanctuary project and improvements to the visitor experience;
- Upgrading access, infrastructure and visitor experiences at Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort.
Complementing these projects are recommendations to:
- Generate more visitor interest by promoting Gippsland with the new ‘Gippsland – all kinds of wonder’ brand campaign and consumer website;
- Encouraging visitors in the off-peak periods by becoming a leader in regional events with a year-round calendar of events supported by an aggressive acquisition fund;
- Develop new products and experiences that focus on Gippsland’ s strengths in mountain biking and rail trails; food and wine experiences; boating and fishing opportunities; adventure activities and our rich arts and culture offerings;
- Focus on seven Destination Hubs for future investment and planning: Bass Coast/South Gippsland Villages; Latrobe Valley; Mount Baw Baw/Walhalla; Gippsland Lakes; Wilsons Promontory; Gippsland’ s High Country; and the Wilderness Coast (Point Hicks to Mallacoota).
“This plan is based on extensive research and identifies clear opportunities for government and the private sector to invest with confidence in Gippsland’s future. It deliberately focuses on experiences that have the potential to be world-class and enable Gippsland to compete on a national and international stage,” Ms Smethurst said.
Chair of the Gippsland Regional Partnership, Maree McPherson, said that the visitor economy has been “a common priority identified by the Gippsland community at Regional Assemblies, and through our ongoing consultation processes”.
“This plan will be the first step in identifying opportunities to strengthen our tourism offerings, lift visitor numbers and improve the resilience and adaptive capacity of Gippsland,” Ms McPherson said.