The rezoning of land along the Great Ocean Road to allow for low-impact accommodation will deliver significant economic benefits, according to industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF Chief Executive John Lee said the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most iconic destinations.
“As one of Australia’s National Landscapes, the Great Ocean Road is a drawcard for visitors from around Australia and across the globe,” he said.
“However, the region has been missing out on the full benefits of this visitation because of a lack of suitable accommodation.
“Providing a range of accommodation options will offer visitors the opportunity to stay in the area for longer, delivering increased economic activity, and supporting jobs and business opportunities in regional Victoria.
“The rezoning decision is about enhancing our world-class natural attractions with low-impact and site-sensitive accommodation and is in line with VCEC’s Unlocking Victorian Tourism report and long-standing TTF advocacy.
“Nature-based activities are one of the backbones of tourism in Victoria, with 68 per cent of international visitors to the state participating in activities such as bushwalking, wildlife spotting and visiting national parks.
“It is not in the tourism industry’s interest to build accommodation that detracts from the natural amenity of the Great Ocean Road region, so any accommodation proposal will have to meet strict criteria.
“The Western Victoria tourism region – which includes the Great Ocean Road – contributed $1.0 billion to the economy in 2011-12, welcoming 127,000 international visitors, 1.6 million domestic overnight travellers and 2.7 million day trippers.
“Converting some of those day trippers into overnight visitors will deliver significant economic benefits to the nearly 2,000 tourism businesses in the region.
“Tourism already accounts for 6.2 per cent of the region’s economic output – more than double the national tourism dependence average of 3.0 per cent.
“Ensuring that visitors have environmentally sensitive places to stay on the Great Ocean Road will deliver economic dividends to the region and encourage more people to appreciate and preserve the great beauty of Victoria’s coastal regions.”