Given this is our last Industry News for 2011, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the important contribution you have made to Victoria's exciting tourism industry over the past year. While it was a challenging start to the year, as you will see in this edition, we have ended the year with strong visitation growth, which is fantastic news.
Until next year, I wish you and your family a very safe and happy festive season and the team at Tourism Victoria look forward to working with you all in 2012 as we work to build on our success.
Updated Tourism 2020 strategy released
The Federal Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, recently unveiled a significant update to the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy: Tourism 2020, to enhance growth, resilience and competitiveness in Australia's $34 billion tourism industry.
Tourism 2020 integrates the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy with the growth aspirations of the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential. Endorsed by all state and territory tourism ministers, it brings the existing work, research and collaboration between industry and governments into a single plan, one that links tourism supply with demand.
It sets the course for industry and governments to work in partnership to make the most of the forecast increase in international and domestic visitor nights and strong growth in demand from Asia.
"Tourism 2020 is about lifting productivity, innovation and quality by tapping into digital technology, increasing investment through regulatory reform, further expanding our transport capacity and focusing on labour, skills and Indigenous participation," Minister Ferguson said.
Regional events receive funding from $2.5 million Tourism Flood Recovery Program
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher recently announced almost $200,000 from the $2.5 million Tourism Flood Recovery Program will be provided to support Echuca's Riverboats Music Festival, the Southern 80 ski race and the Grampians Grape Escape.
Ms Asher said Echuca, the Grampians and surrounding areas had shown great resilience during the 2011 flood event and the regions were ready to play host to a full calendar of events in 2012.
"I am delighted to announce that $125,000 will be provided to Echuca-Moama and $60,000 will be provided to the Grampians, which experienced significant hardship as a result of the January and February flood disaster," Ms Asher said.
As part of the 2011–12 State Budget, the government also announced an additional $1.5 million long-term flood recovery package to assist in bringing tourists back to regional areas.
Coastal Wilderness snares national award
The 2011 National Landscapes Tourism Achievement Award has been awarded to Australia's Coastal Wilderness Steering Committee made up of a dedicated team from East Gippsland and South Eastern NSW.
Committee chair Tim Shepherd, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service regional manager for the Far South Coast, said those involved in the award promoted volunteer tourism such as penguin conservation work on Montague Island, weed control in Nadgee Nature Reserve and conservation efforts through Coast Action Groups in Victoria.
"I commend the steering committee for all their work promoting the concept of Australia's Coastal Wilderness as a national landscape and I am certain the region will see benefits," Mr Shepherd said.
The award recognises Australia's Coastal Wilderness commitment to enhancing visitor experiences, developing new visitor infrastructure and deepening stories of the landscape.
New plans for Ballarat's Kryal Castle
New owners are set to transform Kryal Castle into a new tourism and entertainment icon for Ballarat and surrounding regions over the next few months, with plans for major building and exhibit refurbishment works next year.
In January, the castle will play host to INXS, James Reyne and Vanessa Amorosi and it will continue to operate for functions, weddings and special events during the refurbishment phase.
Ballarat Regional Tourism Director, George Sossi, is supportive of the plans. "The redevelopment of Kryal Castle as a high quality tourism, entertainment and functions venue, will give travellers another reason to visit and to also stay overnight," said Mr. Sossi.
The acquisition group is made up of international, Melbourne and Ballarat business people. The newly refurbished Kryal Castle is expected to be launched in mid to late 2012.
MCEC announces new Chief Executive
The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust Chairman, Mr Bob Annells, recently announced the appointment of Mr Peter King as Chief Executive of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
Peter is currently the Chief Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW where each year he has overseen the Royal Easter Show – Australia's largest single event.
"With his valuable range of skills, Peter will be instrumental in providing higher level strategic planning and management input as the MCEC business grows over the coming years in an increasingly competitive international and national business events environment," said Mr Annells.
Tutankhamun breaks box office records for Melbourne
Victoria's major events success has taken on a golden glow with final figures showing Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs has smashed box office records for touring exhibitions in Australia.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said the exhibition, which recently closed its doors, had been a triumph for Victoria attracting a total attendance of 796,277 (bringing worldwide attendances for Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs to more than eight million).
"In Australia, only a handful of exhibitions have exceeded attendances of 300,000. Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs stands head and shoulders above this, a testament to Melbourne's continuing reputation as Australia's cultural hub," Ms. Asher said.
Other recent exhibitions with attendances over the 300,000 mark include:
Titanic: the Artefact Exhibition at Melbourne Museum with 481,000
Masterpieces from Paris at the National Gallery of Australia with 476,000
The Impressionists at the National Gallery of Victoria with 380,000
A Day in Pompeii at Melbourne Museum with almost 333,000
Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire at the National Gallery of Victoria with almost 333,000
The First Emperor: China's entombed warriors at the Art Gallery of New South Wales with more than 305,000.
Play Melbourne iPhone app available now
As part of the Victorian Government's Play Melbourne campaign, a new iPhone application (app) has been launched, which is designed to help visitors and locals explore Melbourne.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher said the app used advanced capabilities, such as; augmented reality technology, interactive maps and images, and could pinpoint a user’s current location to provide them with a list of recommended destinations.
"The Play Melbourne iPhone app is exciting technology that acts as the perfect tour guide, offering visitors and locals access to maps, images and almost 500 destinations including restaurants, theatres, shops, galleries, cafes and attractions," Ms Asher said.
"(It) is a must have for any visitor as it is a key to unlocking Melbourne's secrets hidden in laneways and on rooftops". Ms Asher said.
The app is available for download through the iTunes app store. For more information visit www.visitvictoria.com.
More than 100 industry representatives attend Victoria's International Exchange (VIE)
Tourism Victoria's overseas based regional managers visited Melbourne to attend Victoria's International Exchange (VIE), a one-day marketing conference that provided keynote presentations and interactive workshop sessions for industry representatives active in the international marketplace.
Over 100 representatives attended VIE. During the regional managers' extended stay, scheduled meetings were held with industry and staff and a familiarisation to Gippsland and Phillip Island was organised.
Smart phone app
This month, Tourism Victoria launched a new application to capitalise on the high number of smart phone users in Korea.
The new smart phone app creates easy access to the Tourism Victoria Korean blog site, image gallery and city walking map.
School teachers familiarisation
Tourism Victoria, in conjunction with Tourism Australia and Tourism Queensland, will be organising a school tour famil to Victoria and the Gold Coast in March 2012.
Approximately 15 Japanese school teachers will travel to Melbourne on 27–30 March to visit several educational based tourism attractions including Philip Island, Puffing Billy and farmstay experiences.
Victoria Awards phase three: Melbourne online specialist store
Tourism Victoria is currently developing phase three of the Victoria Awards campaign, an integrated trade and consumer education campaign first launched in 2010–11.
The third phase, the Melbourne Online Specialist Store, will involve Tourism Victoria forming strategic partnerships with the 12 winning travel agents from phases one and two to develop nine-month marketing campaigns. A dedicated microsite or Melbourne Store on each travel agent partner's website, will aim to educate consumers about the travel experiences available in Victoria and promote quality tour packages.
A range of tactical promotions, advertising and competitions will be developed to drive traffic to the Melbourne Stores, including social media, search engine marketing and advertising; traditional media channels, e.g. print, radio and direct mail; and leveraging airline partnerships with China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.
Have your say in the Taxi Industry Inquiry
The Victorian Taxi Inquiry invites you to participate in an online survey about Victoria's taxi services.
This is an important opportunity for business operators as well as consumers to have their say on a range of issues impacting both metropolitan and regional services. The aim of the inquiry is to build a picture of what works and what needs to change in order to improve services and operations in the future.
An upcoming workshop on 29 March at the RACV Club, Melbourne, is designed to help your business improve accessibility for people with a disability. For more information, please contact
When you consider baby boomers with access needs, parents travelling with children in prams and larger groups that include people with a disability the potential benefits of accessible tourism to your business are significant.
Tri State Workshop Registrations Open
The New Zealand travel trade event, Tri State Workshop 2012,
is 18–20 May 2012.
Approximately 130 retail, wholesale and corporate travel agents from throughout New Zealand will attend and agents will meet with Australian operators in a series of seven-minute appointments. Further information is on the website www.tristate2012.co.nz.