Gippsland overflowing with tourism potential

Expanding community-run events including the Walhalla Ljusfest for international and state-wide tourism is among a series of recommendations outlined in a Victorian tourism report.

The Victorian Tourism Industry Council recommendations detailed Gippsland’s potential tourism growth and has called on all levels of government to fund recommendations it believed could create 9000 jobs across the state.

One such recommendation supports the expansion of Gippsland’s rich events calendar, securing and boosting more medium-sized cultural, sporting, and business events.

“The Walhalla Ljusfest is a good example of capitalising on events that local communities have already developed,” Victorian Tourism Industry Council chief executive Dianne Smith said.

“Our rationale is Victoria is so well known for major events like the Grand Prix in Melbourne, we want more people to go into regional Victoria and attend smaller events. It reinforces our reputation as an events state.”

Ms Smith also pointed to Gippsland’s “wealth of nature based and cultural attractions” in line with another VTIC recommendation for funding support to the State Government’s Victoria Trails Strategy 2014 -24.

The initiative aims to showcase the state’s regional assets as a leading trails destination with walks within Wilsons Promontory and iconic trails such as the Coastal Wilderness Walk.

Ms Smith said there were so many great trails at Wilsons Promontory, east Gippsland, alpine and coastal areas and fresh water lakes.

“We believe that given these are publically managed areas, national parks, there’s an opportunity for additional government funding to enhance the walking experience,” Ms Smith said.

“We need money spent on creating access to get from one end to the other, trail signage to attract international visitors and make more Victorians aware of how spectacular it is.”

She also termed Phillip Island a “honey pot” for the Gippsland region, with nature parks, an increase in the number of penguins and well-run activities.

“Gippsland is clearly a strong tourism region, with tourism attractions and assets. Last week the international visitor results came out with good results and are increasing,” Ms Smith said.

“Regional Victoria can get a greater slice of the pie; key regions like Gippsland.”