In what the state of Victoria’s Labor Government describes as “a once-in-a-generation shakeup of regional Victoria’s tourism and major events approach”, the state’s tourism and major events entities have been brought under the one roof, creating Visit Victoria.
The Andrews Labor Government is backing the changes with a multi- million dollar dedicated marketing campaign.
The changes, which have been hailed by the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF), coincide with the departure of chief executive of Tourism Victoria, Leigh Harry.
An official statement from Victoria’s Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, said Harry “has advised me of his intention to step down”.
“I have accepted Mr Harry’s resignation and I thank him for his contribution to Victoria. Mr Harry’s departure comes as the Victorian Government brings the state’s tourism and major events entities under the one roof, creating Visit Victoria.
“Mr Harry has played an integral role building Victoria’s visitor economy. Our state’s status as a world leader for tourism and major events is a credit to his service.”
“Commencing as Tourism Victoria Chief Executive in 2011, Mr Harry has been pivotal in attracting international airlines to drive visitation, and encouraged investors worldwide to take opportunities within Victoria.
“Mr Harry also oversaw the development of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, making Victoria one of the world’s most popular locations for business events and conventions.
“Victoria’s visitor economy is in great shape, the data speaks for itself. Mr Harry has made a significant contribution to the sector and to our great state.”
Visit Victoria will bring Tourism Victoria and the Victorian Major Events Company together. The new entity will be responsible for growing regional Victoria’s AUD 11 billion visitor economy.
Premier Andrews announced that Visit Victoria will have a distinct Regional Division, with its own managing director, designed to work directly with regional tourism boards and operators to grow tourism in Victoria’s regions.
“The new entity will also be charged with growing regional Victoria’s enviable calendar of events. It means a more resilient tourism and events industry – and that means a stronger state.”
In an issued statement, the TTF added support, saying Visit Victoria would help streamline efforts to promote the state’s visitor economy. The TTF added, however, that the effort needed to be backed with “a strong financial commitment” from the Victorian government.
“TTF congratulates the Victorian Government on the Visitor Economy Review and the creation of Visit Victoria,” TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said.
“This move will ensure better cohesion between destination marketing and major events, and brings Victoria into line with other States.
“The release of the new Brand Victoria and logo refresh is a positive move that shows the government is serious about driving the visitor economy.
“However, industry is still looking for certainty around the funding position of Visit Victoria.
“In the recent budget the Victorian Government cut Tourism Victoria’s baseline funding by 50%.
“In comparison, the NSW Government budget increased funding for Destination NSW, the state’s tourism and major events agency, by AUD 123.35 million.
“While Victoria has seen outstanding growth in visitor numbers over the past five years, these gains could easily be lost if the government doesn’t restore funding to its new tourism and events agency.
“Now the Victorian Government has unveiled the direction it wants to take with the visitor economy, it is time to back up this new direction with adequate funds.”
Edited by Peter Needham