tourist

Tourists might soon have to pay to visit one of Australia’s most iconic attractions if a proposed revenue-raising plan gains traction.
touristThe Great Ocean Road, one of Victoria’s most famous attractions, is a 280 kilometer-long picturesque road which snakes along the state’s southern coast.
But a tourism lobby group wants to take advantage of the coast’ s greatest natural asset, proposing an entry fee to see the Twelve Apostles, a stretch of partially-eroded rock columns situated in the sea along part of the coast.
The Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism said on Tuesday that increasing the amount of money visitors spent while visiting the area was the key to maintaining the upkeep of the aging road and its attractions.
The group’s chairman Wayne Kayler-Thompson said raising funds was vital if the stretch of road which receives more than 5 million visitors each year, many from overseas, was to be properly maintained.
“Visitors are only spending about 18 cents per person, so there ‘s a combination of issues there,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday.
The recommendations are part of a 10 year contingency plan which highlighted a drop in international tourist numbers, particularly overnight visitors due to the rise in popularity of day trips on coaches.
Kayler-Thompson said it was important to “extend the length of stay” of visitors if the region was to continue to grow.
He said too many people were using the region just to see the Twelve Apostles, before turning around and heading back to Melbourne.
“We also need to take account of the high volume of visitors to the Twelve Apostles, that are basically a free attraction, and we need to think of ways that we can capitalize on that,” he said.
“If we don’t increase visitor expenditure, then the impacts of tourism are more likely to be negative than positive.”
The group also highlighted a lack of funding as a key issue, stating that infrastructure was poor, and that an entry fee would be a way to raise money for much-needed upgrades.
“Car parks and access roads servicing a number of key locations are totally inadequate, poorly planned and now compromising visitor and pedestrian safety,” the report said. Enditem

-Xinhua

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