Tourism – an update from The Hon Louise Asher MP

The Hon. Louise Asher, Minister for Tourism and Major Events The Hon. Louise Asher, Minister for Tourism and Major Events

Victoria's incredible food and wine offering forms a centrepiece for its tourism strategy, and the biggest growth to regional tourism over the next ten years will come from Victorians travelling in their own state. To capitalise on this, I launched Victoria's Regional Tourism Strategy 2013-2016 in December 2013 to stimulate tourism in regional Victoria so that it will share the economic benefits of the growing tourism market.

The strategy is built on five overarching policy areas: Marketing; Digital Excellence; Major Events and Business Events; Investment attraction and infrastructure support; and industry development. Each of these approaches is designed to attract intrastate, interstate and international visitors. In particular, there will be a concerted effort as part of this strategy to reconnect with Melbournians and re-engage them with regional Victoria.

In May 2014, the government announced $14 million over 4 years for regional tourism marketing in the 2014/15 State Budget. As part of this, Tourism Victoria will continue to position food and wine through marketing and public relations initiatives, which will focus on adding depth and breadth of quality products and experiences delivered by passionate people, with a spotlight on Victoria's winemakers and cellar doors.

Victoria's reputation as Australia's food and wine capital received a boost with the release of the latest edition of the Wine Regions of Victoria Guide. The guide is an integral part of the Victorian Government's activities to support and promote Victoria's high calibre and distinctive food and wine experiences, and motivates visitors to get out on the road and start discovering Victoria.

The most important activities the industry needs to do to increase direct cellar door sales from tourism is to offer a diversity of experience, and consider themselves part of the tourism industry. Engaging with visitors that are in the region, not necessarily for the wine experiences, but there to immerse themselves in the best the region has to offer, presents enormous opportunity for the sector.

It is more important than ever to have effective regional tourism industry organisations that position competitive advantages of food and wine for their region. Tourism Victoria works closely with Regional Tourism Boards, and Victoria's Food and Wine Council, which comprises Victoria's leading food and wine experts, providing strategic advice to Government on the issues facing industry.

Our work together with these groups will allow us to deliver practical outcomes to the food and wine sector in Victoria.

The Hon Louise Asher MP
Minister for Tourism and Major Events