Niche tourism the key

ECO-TOURISM and heritage tourism offer great opportunities for the south-west to get international tourists to stay longer in the region, Great Ocean Road Tourism (GORT) general manager Liz Price says.

ECO-TOURISM and heritage tourism offer great opportunities for the south-west to get international tourists to stay longer in the region, Great Ocean Road Tourism (GORT) general manager Liz Price says.

Ms Price said eco-tourism and heritage tourism offered the chance for visitors to “immerse” themselves in natural and cultural experiences and involved longer stays than day trips.

Ms Price agreed with a recent state government report into heritage tourism and eco-tourism that found more infrastructure was needed to take advantages of the opportunities presented by the two niche tourism markets.

“The Great Ocean Road attracts visitation but we still have to build yield,” Ms Price said.

“We have to get them to stay longer and spend more,” she said.

Ms Price said the south-west had great eco-tourism opportunities such as the Great Ocean Walk but needed more infrastructure such as accommodation near the route to attract more walkers.

She said the destination activity plans that GORT was developing for nine key destinations along the Great Ocean Road, including Warrnambool and the Port Campbell areas, would put forward several proposals to develop and market tourism in those destinations. 

Inquiry chairman and Legislative Council Member for Western Victoria David Koch said “some long-standing infrastructure shortfalls and work skills and training capacity issues across the state” needed to be addressed to allow the two niche tourism sectors to be fully developed.

“Overseas tourists have a keen desire to have nature-based and cultural heritage experiences and Victoria is perfectly placed to provide both,” Mr Koch said. The committee held public hearings and site inspections across Victoria including Port Campbell and the Great Ocean Road.

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