Resort plan for Great Ocean Road

JASON DOWLING
Last updated 13:15 21/08/2012
Great Ocean Road

FORWARD LOOKING: Tourists enjoying the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria.

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A new tourism blueprint for a large boost in tourism facilities on the state of Victoria's southern coastline, the  Great Ocean Road.

The plan calls for a big jump in resort tourism facilities to be built along the world-class route to accommodate more than 10 million visitors a year by 2030.

The report, funded by industry and state and federal governments, calls for an additional 3440 guest rooms in the Great Ocean Road region over the next 20 years.

Under a high growth visitor estimate, up to four new ''large resorts'', five new backpacker hostels, five new caravan or tourist parks, up to a dozen new hotels, 50 bed and breakfasts and 90 farm-stay accommodation options would be required, the report states.

Priority projects around the Great Ocean Road include a $100 million Port Campbell Precinct and Loch Ard Interpretive Centre and a $35 million Great Ocean Road tourist resort near Port Campbell.

''This will ensure that touring markets are appropriately catered for in close proximity to the iconic product, and provide incentive for visitors to stay longer in the region,'' the report says.

Also singled out is a need for ''signature accommodation'' at Moonlight Head, including 20 luxury suites, day spa, restaurant, guest lounge and bar.

''There is not a signature accommodation provider in the Great Ocean Road Region. However, there are a number of settings which provide opportunity for world-class branded accommodation.''

The report predicts the Great Ocean Road will attract up to 3.3 million additional visitors a year by 2030, including a doubling of international visitors.

Tourism Minister Louise Asher says in the report: ''The Victorian state government will continue to work with industry and the Commonwealth to support the implementation of the destination management plan.''

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Councils have already began lodging applications for greater development along the Great Ocean Road.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has on his desk an application from Corangamite Shire Council to rezone 1155 hectares across 20 sites to facilitate tourism development, including 50 hectares west of Port Campbell for resort development.

But not everyone is happy about the plan to dramatically increase tourism accommodation in the region. Marion Manifold from the Port Campbell Community Group said the new destination management plan did not include ''community consultation or consideration of what the community wants.

''The proposal for a large 'integrated resort' just west of Port Campbell and a major tourism facility at Loch Ard Gorge will overturn years of community consultation and government policy,'' she said.

''The report's emphasis is on economics and fails to consider environmental impacts which are integral to government policies. The Port Campbell coastline is of national significance and of exceptionally high conservation value, and tourism is dependent on protecting these qualities.''

- Fairfax Media

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