Central Victorian tourism operators are asking the Victorian government to provide clear guidelines out of coronavirus restrictions so the industry can rebound.

Key points:

  • Tourism Research Australia data revealed Bendigo Loddon day visitor numbers was down 50 per cent from the year to March 2020 to March 2021
  • Bendigo tourism operators want clear directions to help with the industry recovery
  • Tourism operators say traveller confidence needs to be rebuilt

The latest data from Tourism Research Australia reveals the Bendigo Loddon region had 3,370,000 day visitors to the year ending March 2020.

But that number dropped to 1,685,000 in the year to March 2021 as coronavirus lockdowns restricted travel.

Overnight stays were down almost 50 per cent to 664,000 during the same period and regional expenditure dropped from $378,000,000 to $181,000,000.

Bendigo Tourism launched ‘Bloom’ on September 13 and marketing manager Glenn Harvey said the team was eager to begin the program as regional Victorian lockdown restrictions eased.

“Bloom is about starting to rebuild Bendigo’s tourism industry again,” he said.

“With previous lockdowns, people haven’t been that reluctant to travel through regional Victoria. We saw that last year with Melbournians over summer which isn’t normally Bendigo’s peak time.

Road to recovery

Bendigo Motels Association president Kristyn Slattery backed the Victorian Tourism Industry Council’s four-point survival plan to move the tourism industry towards recovery.

[IMAGE: KRISTYN PHOTO]

Highlighted through the plan is the return of wage subsidiaries, waiver of state government taxes and fees for eligible businesses and the government to work with the tourism industry to build traveller confidence.

“Once there is confidence, then there’s a flow on effect of needing staff.

“We need a guarantee of no more blanket lockdowns which will give confidence to businesses and events and travelers to move forward with life again.

“Recovery doesn’t feel like it’s part of our language yet, there’s a lot of work to be done to get us on that trajectory.”

A light at the end of the tunnel needed

Bendigo Tourism and Major Events manager Terry Karamaloudis is also the deputy chair of the Regional Tourism and says tourism operators across regional Victoria want clear advice.

He says directions around what the roadmap to reopening up the state will not only help the industry but also build traveler confidence.

“We need to know what restrictions will be when we reach the 70 and 80 per cent double dose vaccination rates,” Mr Karamaloudis said.

“We need to start detailing that so people can see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Posted , updated 

Regional Victorian tourism operators call for clear advice to build traveler confidence
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