13 October 2008

Victoria turning to nature-based tourism to boost numbers

The Victorian government is encouraging tourism operators in the state to follow its new tourism strategy so that it can respond to an increasing demand from international visitors for nature-based tourism, reports Hospitality.com.

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VITC) has told local tourism operators they need to follow the recommendations outlined in the Victorian Government’s Nature Based Tourism Strategy.  VITC feel the new focus will attract more international visitors and create fiercer competition with Tasmania, Western Australia and New Zealand.

"Victoria has the greatest level of biodiversity, relative to land size, in Australia. Most natural attractions are easily accessed, being clustered within driving distance of Melbourne”, said VTIC Chairman Mr Johnson. 

He also said the promotion of Victoria’s natural assets will drive tourism growth and attract more visitors to regional parts of Victoria, but that the government and local businesses must coordinate to invest in infrastructure and attractions to support such a move.

"In the face of declining international visitors numbers to Australia, the Government is to be congratulated for its renewed commitment to Nature Based Tourism," said Mr Johnson.

In related news, according to the latest report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of international visitors arriving in Australia during the month of July increased by 9 per cent on the same period last year.  In total, there were 531,600 international visitor arrivals to Australia during July 2008, and 5.7 million arrivals for the year ending July 2008.

International tourists to Australia need an Australia travel visa, except for New Zealand passport holders.  Visitors wishing to travel the country can apply for a short-stay tourist visa, or ETA, which is valid for three months.  The conditions of the visa mean that tourists cannot work at any time during their stay in Australia.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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