Victorian Tourism Industry Council warns of losing tourism dollars to NSW & QLD

Melbourne Flinders Street Train Station in Australia at sunset
Edited by Travel Weekly

    The Victorian Government has been urged to invest in tourism by relaunching the Melbourne Airport Rail Link and dropping taxes among other measures by the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) to prevent losing money to other states.

    In a priorities submission ahead of the May state budget, the VTIC said that despite $38b flowing into the state’s economy in 2023, the government must act now to drive demand and prevent leaking dollars to rival states NSW and Queensland.

    Currently, NSW reeled in the most tourism spend with $51b last year with Queensland seeing $41b and the chief executive of VTIC, Felicia Mariani hopes to see $16b growth (to $53b) by 2028.

    “We now sit at $37.8bn in total spend from visitors to our state; it is an achievement we should be proud of, but the job is not done and Victoria cannot afford to take its foot off the pedal,” she said.

    “Visit Victoria needs to be funded more than one year at a time to go out confidently, engage in contracts and undertake promotional activities”

    One key sticking point for the VTIC is the 7.5 per cent tax on short-stay properties on platforms like Airbnb, particularly in the regions.

    “The short-stay accommodation tax has been put into place, supposedly to try and encourage people to move their properties from short stay to longer-term rentals,” Mariani continued.

    “The reality is, this tax is not going to achieve that outcome. The owners are just going to pass the tax on to customers,” which she says would affect ­regional Victoria where tourism was already “softening”.

    The submission also reiterated the importance of accessibility and called for $50m to build a train station at Avalon Airport to promote more travel to the under-utilised flight hub.

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