Posted on 28. Jul, 2011 in News

The Baillieu Government’s lack of a tourism plan has been exposed with the latest figures showing visitor numbers to Melbourne have dropped significantly, Shadow Minister for Tourism Justin Madden said.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics CPI data reveals that domestic holiday travel and accommodation dropped 3.7 per cent.

“Melbourne is a fantastic place to visit so it’s disappointing that the Baillieu Government does not have a plan to win a greater share of the domestic tourism market,” Mr Madden said.

“The dithering Baillieu Government is content to sit back and watch while travellers go to Sydney instead.

“Mr Baillieu has done nothing to boost confidence in the tourism sector, and neither has his Tourism Minister Louise Asher, who just last week was talking down Victoria’s pre-eminent blockbuster event, the Grand Prix.

“This drop in visitors to Melbourne should come as no surprise to Ms Asher, if she had bothered to read a Tourism Victoria report from March that warned Victoria risked losing domestic visitors to NSW.

“Ms Asher needs to sit down with her new Tourism chief Leigh Harry and tell him to get cracking.”

Mr Madden said in contrast to the Baillieu Government’s lack of action, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell was ready to snatch Melbourne’s enviable calendar of major events from under Mr Baillieu’s nose.

“Victoria’s title of arts capital of Australia is already under threat with significant stage musicals being poached by our northern neighbours,” he said.

“Some of Melbourne’s iconic sporting events are also under threat, with the Baillieu Government signalling it would dump the Grand Prix.

“Our cultural and sporting events are what help make Melbourne such an attractive place to visit and it’s vital that Mr Baillieu continues to build on this.”

Mr Madden said tourism was a vital part of Melbourne’s economy and Mr Baillieu needed to wake up and draw up an action plan to help secure existing events and attract new ones.

“We all know how important domestic travel is to our economy with thousands of jobs depending on tourism dollars spent in Melbourne’s cafés, restaurant, theatres, hotels and pubs,” Mr Madden said.

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