FORMER state planning minister Justin Madden says tourism markets are going to flow into Wonthaggi and continue to rise across Bass Coast.
Madden spoke over breakfast to people from Baw Baw, South Gippsland and Bass Coast, including developers, to distil the impact of growing international tourism markets into Gippsland at a ‘Developing Bass Coast’ forum last Thursday morning.
“Melbourne’s growth provides complementary shared opportunities into the Bass Coast region,” Madden said at the Wonthaggi Golf Club.
Wonthaggi was once projected to be an overflow of Melbourne, he added.
Understanding the growth potential of the middle-class Chinese market, Madden anticipated further increases of international visitors.
“Right now, only 10 per cent of Chinese people have passports, this is likely to double in the next few years,” he said.
“The strong growth of developing overseas economies is seeing huge growth of inbound tourism into the Bass Coast region and this is likely to continue for a considerable time.”
This can be linked to the decreasing strength of the Australian dollar, he said.
“A strong construction sector and the
visitor economy are providing jobs and economic growth in the Bass Coast region,” said the 332-game AFL footballer.
As tourism demands grow, Madden also commented that ageing demographics will be an essential concern for developers.
“Challenges of servicing the ageing population, particularly housing needs, will need to be addressed.”
Looking to the town’s younger demographic, Madden understood youth prospects to be a key area for local government and businesses to address.
“Retaining and attracting young and talented people into the regions is always challenging and should be considered as a priority.”
Inviting talented and visionary developers to the region, Bass Coast Shire hosts ‘Developing Bass Coast’ forums two to three times per year.
Bass Coast Shire’s Emilie Barkley, acting coordinator visitor economy and events, shared in the excitement that was drawn on by developers.
“These forums are a great opportunity to share information and network with industry colleagues from the development industry,” said Emilie.
For more information, visit the ‘Business in Bass Coast’ Facebook page.
Tourism on the rise for Wonthaggi and the Bass Coast