Victorian tourism is breaking records, bolstered by unprecedented growth in international visitors drawn to country and regional areas.
Tourism Research Australia has reported that in the year to March, Victoria welcomed 3.1 million international tourists – up 5 per cent on the previous year – who spent $8.5 billion, up 7.6 per cent.
The rise in international overnight visitors in regional Victoria was even more pronounced at more than triple the national regional average – 12 per cent compared with 3.3 per cent in other states.
Phillip Island experienced monster growth, up 39.1 per cent, with six other hotspots recording double-digit rises: Gippsland (17.1 per cent), Goldfields (16.8 per cent), Murray (16.2 per cent), Mornington Peninsula (13.6 per cent), Geelong/Bellarine (11.4 per cent) and Great Ocean Road (10.9 per cent).
International visitor spending in Melbourne increased by 7.9 per cent on the previous year to reach $8 billion, while overnight visitors increased by 4.7 per cent to 2.9 million.
Chinese visitors continue to lead the charge to Victoria with almost 680,000 visitors in the past year. Total spending by Chinese tourists was $3.2 billion.
A significant increase in visitor spending was also recorded by visitors from the United States – up 14 per cent thanks in part to the launch of direct flights between Melbourne and San Francisco.
“More international visitors than ever are choosing to come to Victoria and it’s paying dividends in terms of thriving businesses and growing job opportunities,” said Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula.