The Great Ocean Road region draws more visitors than Phillip Island, the Whitsundays and tropical north Queensland.
The 5.2 million visitors bring with them enormous economic benefit to Victoria.
A study commissioned by Warrnambool City Council in 2016 found that tourism in the region supported 3,720 jobs directly and 6,180 jobs in total across Victoria – with most of those jobs in Melbourne.
The Council and the Great South Coast group of municipalities are calling on the Victorian Government to invest in the region worth an estimated $780 million each year to the Victorian economy.
“Many international visitors have the Great Ocean Road region – including the 12 Apostles – on their travel itineraries,” Warrnambool Mayor and chair of the Great South Coast group Cr Kylie Gaston said.
“Their visit to Victoria is frequently motivated by a desire to see the Great Ocean Road.
“This is enormously beneficial to Victoria, particularly Melbourne, because huge numbers of visitors enjoy a day trip to the 12 Apostles, then return to stay overnight in Melbourne.
“So the evidence is that an investment in the Great Ocean Road region is of benefit to Victoria.”
In 2016 the Victorian Government released a master plan for the Shipwreck Coast, which covers the 28km stretch along the south-west coast that included the Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell and the Blowhole.
This section alone attracts 2.6 million visitors a year but the average visitor stays less than 40 minutes and spends only 18 cents.
The ShipWreck Coast Master Plan followed a strategic plan developed for the wider Great Ocean Road Region in 2015.
“We need to maintain and enhance the facilities along the Great Ocean Road so that the experience of visiting the Great Ocean Road meets people’s expecations,” Cr Gaston said.
“The Shipwreck Coast Master Plan outlines how we can ensure that the Great Ocean Road region remains an enduring attraction with an enviable reputation.
“The master plan is also focused on encouraging visitors to stay for longer in the region. We want people to extend their stay and extend the range of their visit beyond the 12 Apostles.
“Visitors need to know that other great attractions including Warrnambool, Tower Hill Reserve, Portland, Port Fairy and Hamilton are just a short distance away and would add tremendous value to their stay.”
Investment so far:
$9.8 million from the Victorian Government for facilities including:
A new world class lookout at the Twelve Apostles
A new lookout over 'The Blowhole' visitor site, allowing it to be reopened to the public
A new pedestrian bridge over Campbell's Creek in Port Campbell and new connecting trails in the area
Telecommunications, WiFi and a digital interpretation platform focussed on the Twelve Apostles
Data sourced from:
Strategic Master Plan for the Great Ocean Road Region Visitor Economy 2015-2025.
Shipwreck Coast Master Plan: Master Plan Report
Victorian Government media release, May 28, 2016, Boosting Tourism And Jobs On Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast