$2m tourism boost

TOURISM: Geelong mayor Bruce Harwood.

Geelong’s tourism board is awaiting confirmation of state funding after council this week agreed to chip in $2 million next financial year.
Council’s renewed three-year partnership with Tourism Greater Geelong and Bellarine followed last week’s Indy report that the industry was on the verge of generating over a $1 billion a year in revenue for the region.
Council this week signed a new memorandum of understanding with the tourism board until 2021 as the largest of the board’s three municipal partners.
But State Government has yet to recommit its three-year funding deal, concluding at the end of the financial year.
The government committed $275,000 in 2015 after overcoming fallout with the board over its 2013 split from the tourism authority overseeing the Great Ocean Road and Otway Ranges region.
City Hall was hopeful the government would come to the party again.
“We anticipate a continuation of state funding beyond the current agreement. The exact figure is yet to be confirmed,” said City Hall investment and attraction acting director Tim Ellis.
The City described its relationship with the tourism board as “longstanding and successful”, predating the 2013 split from the former Geelong Otway Tourism.
“For more than 20 years the partnership has proven highly effective in helping to achieve rapid growth for our visitor economy.
“Tourism delivered approximately $921 million into the local economy in 2017, with around 5.3 million visitors. This is forecast to grow to $1.145 billion by 2030, with annual visitation to top seven million, making the sector one of the most important to the region’s future.”
Mayor Bruce Harwood backed the future of tourism for the Geelong region.
“Our beautiful region has so much going for it as a visitor destination, and our tourism industry is doing a great job delivering huge growth, but more importantly a world-class travel experience,” he said.
“There’s no doubt tourism is one of the most vital sectors of our economy, and with strong leadership, creativity and hard work there’s still enormous opportunity to enhance and expand this area even further.
“The partnership between industry and council is regarded nationally and internationally as a best-practice model and is often used as a benchmark for others to aspire to.”

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