Research shows visitation across Victoria’s alpine resorts has increased by 19 per cent

Falls Creek may not have claimed the title of most visited Alpine resort in 2016, but it was top in the state for economic generation.

The resort received 263,242 visitors in total for 2016, the second-highest in Victoria followed by Mount Hotham at 178,456.

While Mt Buller/Stirling had the most visitors, Falls was the most significant economic contributor out of the six resorts, accounting for $316 million in value add and 3164 jobs generated.

In winter, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham resorts contributed around $290 million to the Gross Regional Product of the Alpine Shire, up from $285 million in 2011.

The report, commissioned by the Alpine Resorts Co-ordinating Council, showed an additional $36 million was generated through visitation at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham resorts in summer.

ARCC principal policy officer Alex Shilton said while summer visitation still tracked behind winter, it was growing.

“Over the last decade it’s been growing at 3 per cent per annum for number of visitors,” he said.

“That’s faster than the rate of winter, of 0.7 per cent.

“The message is getting out there about summer … all the resorts are making a big effort with events and festivals.”

Since the last economic contribution study was prepared in 2011, the total number of visitors across Victoria’s alpine resorts in the winter season increased by 19 per cent.

Mr Shilton said the research was in line with a project to enhance the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing and the development of ARCC’s next strategy.

“The current strategic plan was approved in 2012; one of the important things to inform the development of a new plan is understanding of the economic impact of the resorts,” he said.

“The numbers for Falls has got a lot to do with how long people stay.

“If you look at the length of stay, in winter there’s a very significant difference between Falls and Hotham – people stay 2.6 and 2.7 days compared to 1.4 at Buller.”

The Ernst and Young report recommended with only 4 per cent of visitors coming from overseas to the state’s resorts, new markets in countries such as China and India should be targeted and infrastructure and services for summer offerings grown.

Mr Shilton said the research, also gathered on the ground, reaffirmed the importance of continually supporting the resorts.

“There have been a couple of poor seasons in the last five years, but we’ve bounced back and are generally tracking in a positive way,” he said.

“When you look at the numbers coming out of the reports, the economic contribution is continuing to grow.”