A recently released visitor survey report by leading tourism economics and research body Tourism Research Australia has revealed the strongest tourism results for East Gippsland in 14 years, as Australians make up for lost travel opportunities during the pandemic period.
The surge in national and international visitors brings renewed hope of a strong recovery in the tourism sector and an economic boost across East Gippsland.
The Australian Government tourism research group’s September quarter 2022 report revealed results that it describes as “very positive” for East Gippsland, with the shire’s visitor economy surging to impressive visitation and expenditure numbers and outperforming the state overall.
Travel was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/21, with significant rates of decline recorded due to travel restrictions, implemented from early 2020. International visitor numbers suffered a steep decline. The bounce back, however, has surpassed previous visitation and spend levels, with visitation up a record 23.3% to 2,726 million and expenditure up a massive 64.8% on last year to $638 million.
East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Mark Reeves praised the collaborative work of regional marketing body East Gippsland Marketing Inc, regional tourism organisation Destination Gippsland, Business and Tourism Associations, Chambers of Commerce and Council
“The boost we’ve seen to the visitor economy of East Gippsland is testament to combined work of Council, Destination Gippsland, EGMi and our tourism industry, to create and implement strong marketing promotions and tools, such as the Visit East Gippsland website, as well as resources, and business and events support,” Cr Reeves said.
“Council’s Economic Development Team works to attract tourists at every level, from attracting major events via the Gippsland Regional Events Strategy, providing visitor services through our accredited Visitor Information Centres, and hosting media and tourism agents, down to providing industry training and development to help strengthen our destination appeal. I congratulate them on being part of a highly successful effort.
“East Gippsland is a spectacular destination thanks to its natural beauty and, moving forward, nature-based tourism will be a key focus. We’re striving to attain Ecotourism Australia’s globally recognised ECO Destination Certification,” Cr Reeves said.
“The number of visitors we’ve seen coming to East Gippsland to experience our unspoilt beauty, our local hospitality, locally gown food, art, culture and events is pleasing, but we’re confident that this is just the start of better things to come for tourism in our shire.”
Tourism Research Australia’s next National Visitor Survey will be released in April 2023.