A tourism round table, hosted by The Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King and the Shadow Minister for Tourism, Anthony Albanese, was held in Ballarat last week.
Tourism employs 3,500 people in Ballarat and there is still an enormous opportunity for the City of Ballarat, as was witnessed with the Archibald exhibition and attractions such as Sovereign Hill, where the forum was held. Mr Albanese said it had been good to sit down with the sector and talking about how to create more jobs and increase the economic activity in Ballarat. “What they want is more coordination from the National Government,” Mr Albanese said. “There is a role for the National Government in attracting international tourists. We have heard about the massive increase from China, including a student group with 50 school based children based here in Ballarat for a number of days, we’ve heard about overseas students who bring their parents and extended family, to Ballarat, to have a look at the attractions that are here.
“We’ve heard about the opportunity, in terms of food and product tourism. Overseas, in many of these countries, they are looking at coming to places like Ballarat that has natural produce and to actually be hands on with that produce.” Mr Albanese added that the attractions are many in Ballarat and the opportunities are great and people are positive about the future but what they want is their federal government to support them.
“The good thing about today is that I was able to address what we’ve done, so we have credit for more than doubling of the roads budget including projects like Hallett’s and Anthony’s Cutting, rail projects including the Regional Rail Link show that we have made a difference when it comes to infrastructure,” Mr Albanese said. Speaking about tourism in Ballarat Mr Albanese said it was about enhancing what is already here. “This is a great product, it’s a wonderful city and region, with a great history and here at Sovereign Hill we are celebrating that history which is a major tourist attraction, not just for Australia but for the world, and it’s matter of taking advantage of that, how we can market Ballarat and the region more as a destination itself,” he said. “If you look where the tourism growth will come from in the coming decades it’s from countries like China and India, countries with urban centres that are overcrowded, countries that are looking for a place to visit with a bit of space, with great natural environment and great natural assets and I’m very positive for this great city.”