The Victorian tourism industry is calling for more investment into the sector after the state fell to third place in the race to attract tourism dollars nationally.
Queensland edged ahead to second place behind NSW in the 12 months to September 2022, putting Victoria in third place.
Total international and interstate visitors to the state were down 22 per cent to 75.6 million in the 12 months to the end of September 2022, compared with the same period in 2019. Total spend dropped 16 per cent to $26.5 billion.
Unsurprisingly given the nation’s low number of overseas visitors, Victoria’s international traveller numbers were down 80 per cent.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) chief executive Felicia Mariani said both NSW and Queensland are investing significantly in their visitor economies and Victoria needed to follow suit.
”We need to continue to invest heavily in the recover of our industry when the landscape we’re playing in is highly competitive,” she told The Age.
“We fought hard to win the No. 2 spot, and it’s hard to lose it again – we’ve got to win it back.”
The number one priority is the staffing shortage, with the sector needing to replace the 100,000 workers it lost during the pandemic, according to the VTIC.
“One hundred thousand people is a lot of people to try and recover, and especially heading towards the Commonwealth Games – they’re going to need a lot of people as well,” Mariani said.
The VTIC is calling for TAFE courses for tourism to be reinstated on the government’s free-course list. The peak body also wants a new railway station to be built at Avalon Airport before the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
The federal government has indicated it would match a $50 million investment from Avalon Airport to build the new station on condition the Victorian government committed $50 million as well.