DESTINATION Gippsland says it’s right behind Tourism Australia’s ‘It’s our best shot for travel’ campaign aimed at encouraging Australians to ‘get vaccinated and get ready to go’.

Tourism is a vital part of the Gippsland economy – and it has been hit hard by COVID restrictions on travel and hospitality.

When you get your COVID-19 vaccination, you’re not just protecting yourself and the community, you’re also supporting the 13,000 people that work in the visitor economy in our region.

“We strongly agree with Tourism Australia’s message to get vaccinated and get ready to go,” Nick Murray, Destination Gippsland chair, said.

“The disruption and uncertainty caused by lockdowns is having a significant impact on tourism and many people in our community.

“The sooner everyone gets the shot, the sooner travel can resume and more people can enjoy the incredible experiences on offer in Gippsland. We believe this approach will give businesses and travellers confidence and improve the health and resilience of our communities.”

For the 12 months ending March 2021, Gippsland received 2.5 million fewer visitors than the year before, down 34 per cent.

The silver lining in the visitor statistics is Gippsland gained market share during this time as the average decline across regional Victoria was 44 per cent. Encouragingly, visitors also stayed longer (+17 per cent) and spent more per night (+10.4 per cent) since the pandemic started in March 2020.

“We have invested heavily in marketing the region with our ‘Gippsland All Kinds of Wonder’ brand,” Terry Robinson, Destination Gippsland CEO, said.

“With the support of local and state government, Destination Gippsland has undertaken a bold marketing campaign that included television, radio, print, digital and billboard advertising targeting Victorians to visit.

“With sustained activity, we have reached over 30 million people and generated media coverage valued at $10.5 million in the past nine months in an effort to attract visitors and minimise the impacts on our visitor economy.”