Booming tourism season

April 16, 2024 BY

Domestic tourism expenditure has increased in Geelong and the Bellarine by 72 per cent. Photo: ABBY PARDEW

TOURISM in Victoria hit a record high in 2023 with $37.8 billion being spent in the state.

The latest data from the TRA’s National and International Visitor Survey showed expenditure is $5.4-billion higher compared to 2019, with a 72 per cent growth in domestic spending in Geelong and the Bellarine regions

Executive Director of Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine Tracy Carter said the figures put the region on the right track of achieving its 2032 target of $2.1 billion in visitor spend.

“In more positive news for the region, TRA’s data also revealed an uptick in overnight stays (plus 7.2 per cent), overnight spend per night (plus 6.2 per cent) and day trip spend (plus 36 per cent), with 11 per cent of the total tourism expenditure in Regional Victoria spent in Geelong and The Bellarine.

“While the figures are encouraging and provide valuable insights into the local Visitor Economy on a macro level, there are many factors at play in operating tourism businesses and I’m conscious that some sectors or areas have found business a lot tougher than the data suggests.

“Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine will continue to work with the sector to build a stronger and more resilient tourism destination through advocacy, industry development and destination marketing.”

Tourism Minister Steve Dimopoulos said this record is proof that visitors are coming from across the globe for the state’s events, experiences, and destinations.

“From culture to sports and music, we’re investing in the tourism industry so it can continue to grow and thrive, supporting thousands of jobs and businesses across the state.”

International travellers also contributed to the states increase, generating $6.4 billion in tourism expenditure last year.

Ms Carter said around 50 per cent of total visitation to the Geelong and Bellarine regions is made up of visiting friends and relatives (VFR).

“Through digital advertising, print media and outdoor signage, our upcoming marketing campaign, Greater Happened Here, hopes to capture an even larger slice of the VFR pie while also targeting visitors from both inter and intra-state.

Ms Carter said that they provided letters of support for applicants across Geelong and The Bellarine for the state’s Enabling Tourism Fund successful applicants will receive between $20,000 and $500,000 to assist in planning, feasibility studies, and design, in preparation for future investment.

“We’re also expecting strong levels of interest from local tourism operators once details of the Regional Tourism and Events Fund are officially released.

“This program will support events attraction, infrastructure and marketing, and is expected to launch relatively soon.”