The Victorian Government will hand out $200 vouchers for visitors to regional Victoria in a bid to boost tourism in bushfire and COVID-affected towns.
Premier Daniel Andrews has promised $465 million in this year’s budget, to encourage more visitors to regional Victoria as part of the Victorian Tourism Recovery Package.
Victorians who have booked and spent at least $400 dollars on accommodation or tickets to attractions and tours can apply for a $200 voucher for spending money.
120,000 vouchers will be made available from December.
“There’ll be quite a simple process to make sure that you can validate that you had an experience and then you will receive the $200 from us,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Voucher system still being worked out
Regional Victorians will also be eligible for vouchers for region to region travel but Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said the details of the voucher system were still being worked out.
“Whether it is upfront or by reimbursement is part of the design,” Mr Pakula said.
“I make the point that similar schemes are already in place in South Australia and Tasmania
“In other states, there is a voucher that is printed out, and then people get a refund at the end once they have acquitted that they have spent that money.”
Another $149 million has been allocated in the budget to building new tourism infrastructure in regional towns.
The bulk of the funding will go towards upgrades along the Great Ocean Road.
A new coastal walking trail with up to five new suspension bridges will be built along the Great Ocean Road, providing spectacular views from Fairhaven Skenes Creek.
Another $2 million is being set aside to build more campsites will also be built along the Surf Coast.
Tourism boost for bushfire towns
In East Gippsland, $18.5 million will be spent on improving tourist infrastructure as part of a Gippsland Tourism Recovery Package.
Ten eco-pods will be built at Cape Conran Coastal Park costing $3.5 million to entice visitors to stop along the Melbourne to Sydney coastal route.
Cabins, camp grounds and boardwalks at the park were destroyed in the summer bushfires.
The proposed Metung Hot Springs and Nunduk Spa and Eco-Resort has been promised $2.5 million but it is not known if that will be enough to kick-start the project.
Australia’s largest mainland lighthouse at Point Hicks in a far south-eastern corner of the state will undergo a $3.85 million upgrade.
Visitor facilities at Mallacoota inlet will also be upgraded to allow for the development of a new Coastal Wilderness walk through the rugged Croajingolong National Park.
On Raymond Island, accessible only by ferry from Paynesville in East Gippsland, $350,000 will be spent on a koala trail.
Keeping predators off the Prom
One of the jewels of Victoria’s nature-based tourism sites, Wilsons Promontory will undergo a $23 million upgrade.
A $6 million predator-proof fence will be built at the Prom, stretching 10 kilometres from coast to coast to block access by foxes, cats, deer and rabbits.
“These improvements at some of our most iconic tourist destinations will bring more visitors to Gippsland and that means a stronger economy and more jobs,” Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said.
Funding has also been allocated to the Mallee Silo Art Trail, the Ballarat Centre for Photography, the Murray River Adventure Trail, and the Brambuk Cultural Centre at Halls Gap.
In the state’s north east, $4.3 million will be spent on growing the Prosecco Road winery district by establishing accommodation at Dal Zotto Wines.
Another $15 million will go towards upgrades to the hiking trail between Falls Creek and Mount Hotham.
The Victorian Government has also allocated $3.5 million to upgrade the 104-year-old Snowy River Rail bridge at Orbost.
The upgrade will make the bridge suitable for pedestrians and cyclists, linking it to the popular East Gippsland Rail Trail.