Regional tourism has been a big winner under Round One of the Australian Government's National Stronger Regions Fund, the Minister responsible for tourism Andrew Robb said.
The Minister said that of the 51 approved projects, 12 projects across Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania, were for tourism-related infrastructure, an allocation that amounted to more than $66 million, for projects worth $188 million.
“The $66 million in Stronger Regions funding for tourism is in addition to the $43 million provided over four years to the states and territories under the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) Programme,” Mr Robb said.
“The Stronger Regions Fund will help deliver projects as diverse as a new runway at Bendigo Airport, a 144km multi-day walking trail in the Grampians National Park, a rail trail from Launceston to Scottsdale in Tasmania and an Aboriginal and Environmental Centre at Northam in WA.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said: “Under the Stronger Regions Fund, the Australian Government is investing $1 billion over five years to strengthen regions across Australia, enhancing economic growth and sustaining those regions into the future,” Mr Truss said.
Mr Robb said around 46 cents in every tourism dollar is spent in regional Australia and infrastructure that boosts demand for high-quality experiences is needed to fully capitalise on the unique experiences, natural beauty and history of our regions.
“The diversity of these projects reflects that of regional Australia itself and the wonderful attractions that exist outside our capital cities.
“Enhancements to regional tourism infrastructure support efforts to encourage international and domestic tourists for that matter, to travel beyond our major centres; which broadens their travel experience and benefits local economies,” he said.
Projects such as airport upgrades, convention centres and museums are large economic multipliers and greatly improve the viability of surrounding tourism and small business.
“These projects are vital for job opportunities and broader economic benefits that flow through to the wider community,” Mr Robb said.
Chinese visitors are a significant source of growth, with 100 million Chinese going on an international holiday in 2014. Projections suggest that figure will more than double by 2020.
“Increasingly, Chinese and other international visitors are seeking more authentic Australian experiences, which are something our regions can deliver in spades with the right infrastructure,” Mr Robb said.
“I encourage local communities to support the significant investments being made and capitalise on the new opportunities they will bring,” he said.
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