MP spruiks tourism as a major money-spinner

TOURISM is big business for Victoria, particularly regional economies, with the Murray area getting an annual benefit of $1.67 billion.

According to a minister, that represents 13.1 per cent of the area’s gross regional income with employment generated for about 15,900 people.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher has released figures relating to the financial boon for country regions.

“Tourism is a valuable contributor to Victoria’s regional economies, worth $10.9 billion and generating the employment of 109,000 people both directly and indirectly in 2011-12,” Ms Asher said.

“Regional Victoria has a greater reliance on the tourism sector than Melbourne.”

Ms Asher said it provides 13.9 per cent of the gross regional product in country areas.

“As a labour intensive industry, tourism also contributes significantly to regional development through employment generation, contributing 12.8 per cent of total regional employment and with more people employed in tourism in regional Victoria than in Melbourne,” she said.

The figures are based on research by Tourism Victoria and Deloitte Access Economics.

Ms Asher said the research was an important step in providing consistent regional economic data to better understand the contribution that tourism makes to Victoria’s regions.

The figures show the state’s High Country generates $806 million in tourism which is 24.6 per cent of its gross regional product.

It generates employment for 8500 people in that area.

By comparison, tourism is worth $619 million for Phillip Island, $804 million for the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges area and $949 million for the Grampians.

The Great Ocean Road generates $1.83 million in tourism, with Gippsland getting $1.05 billion and the Mornington Peninsula $1.01 billion.

The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges gets $1.01 billion with employment for more than 10,000 people.

“The government is committed to ensuring that regional Victoria continues to share in the benefits of tourism growth across Victoria,” Ms Asher said.

The summer holiday period and Easter are the busiest times for visitors in the Murray region.

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