Coast needs visitors to return

PLEASE VISIT: Otway Coast Tourism Association chairman Rex Brown, left, and Wye River Big4 owner Matt Travers, are eager for tourism to increase this summer, in the wake of fires and landslides in the past year.

PLEASE VISIT: Otway Coast Tourism Association chairman Rex Brown, left, and Wye River Big4 owner Matt Travers, are eager for tourism to increase this summer, in the wake of fires and landslides in the past year.

Great Ocean Road tourism businesses estimate they’ve lost $20 million in revenue since a landslide closed the road eight weeks ago.

And they fear the losses will continue because Melbourne residents are unaware that the road is open for business.

Otway Coast Tourism chairman Rex Brown said tourism groups wanted the State Government to spend $250,000 promoting the region before the vital summer holidays.

Mr Brown is an accommodation provider at Wye River and is working with a coalition of 10 tourism groups from along the Great Ocean Road to lobby for the advertising campaign.

The coalition met with government departments at Geelong last week to help them understand the situation.

Mr Brown estimated September’s landslides, road closures and subsequent tourism downturn had cost the region’s tourism sector $20 million.

“We’re concerned about what impact that might have this summer,” he said.

“We’re hoping as a result of our discussions they can provide advanced publicity ahead of the Christmas holidays to tell people the Great Ocean Road is open.

“A lot of people have been calling asking when will the Great Ocean Road be re-opened, but we know it has been opened since early October.”

Mr Brown said the loss of tourists and tourist buses at Apollo Bay had led to a 60-per-cent downturn in trade at cafes, while accommodation bookings were down for coming months in towns along the road.

“In talking to our colleagues in the area, the trend is for a 40-per-cent drop in inquiry for this time of year,” he said.

Mr Brown said businesses could be facing a 40-per-cent drop in business for the Christmas holidays.

He said he was optimistic the government would understand the situation and provide support.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

Buy the Colac Herald print edition, which has full coverage of all the region’s news and sport. Click here to find out where to buy a copy.

Comments are closed.