REGION - The Grampians is set to build on recent developments to become a major tourism hotspot with the development of a new tourism action plan for the region, designed to increase visitation to the area and support local businesses and communities.
Nationals Member for Western Victoria, David O'Brien said the plan would help guide future investment and development of visitor services and facilities.
"Tourism is a key industry for the economic sustainability of communities in the Grampians with tourists spending an average of $175 million a year in the area," Mr O'Brien said.
"Currently there is no in-depth analysis of tourism to the region, but this plan will help fill that gap by reviewing the current tourism offering, identifying opportunities and recommending a strategic course of action to attract future investment.
"Ultimately this research will help bring more visitors to the Grampians, improve employment opportunities and strengthen the region's economy.
"With the Halls Gap Hub now moving to the planning stage, the tourism action plan will come at an ideal time."
CEO Grampians Tourism, Will Flamsteed welcomed the announcement and said the plan would form part of the strategic direction taken by the organisation.
"To have investment ready tourism projects outlined is a key outcome of the plan, which is much needed in all of regional Victoria, particularly in the Grampians. This will ensure the region can keep up with consumer demand."
The Victorian Coalition Government has committed $32,500 in funding towards the $137,500 project, which will be conducted by the Grampians Tourism Board.
The Grampians Tourism Board's stakeholders include Tourism Victoria, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Southern Grampians Shire Council, Horsham Rural City, Ararat Rural City, Pyrenees Shire and local tourism associations.
Mr O'Brien said Victorian Government support for the project was being provided through the Putting Locals First program, a component of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
"The Putting Locals First program is a $100 million investment that supports local project development and planning to improve the lives of regional Victorians."