Victoria Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher
Visitor Numbers Set To Cruise With Launch Of Upgraded MV Queenscliff Ferry
Victor P Taffa
Tourism and Major Events Minister Louise Asher today launched one of Victoria’s much-loved ferries, the MV Queenscliff, which has just completed a multi-million dollar upgrade.
“I am delighted today to launch the MV Queenscliff which has been upgraded to meet the needs of the modern tourist and traveller on the route between Queenscliff and Sorrento.” Ms. Asher said.
“The upgrade is an excellent tourism investment which will provide a significant economic boost to the region through the creation of increased employment opportunities as well as the economic benefits associated with attracting increased patronage.”
The upgrade includes refurbished interior features such as a new lounge with full 360-degree views, a dedicated children’s playground, an onboard café helmed by local chef Ken Wall, an interactive travel showcase and free wifi to keep passengers connected on board. In keeping with the vessel’s new look, company owners Searoad Ferries have also introduced ‘High Tea on the High Seas’.
Ms. Asher said it was vital that Victoria’s tourism offerings were constantly refreshed to meet increased demand and competition, particularly in growing visitation in regional Victoria.
The Mornington Peninsula and Great Ocean Road regions of Victoria, which encompass both Queenscliff and Sorrento, have long been popular destinations for international tourists.
For the year ending June 2011, international overnight visitor estimates to Mornington Peninsula increased by 4% from the previous year to 37,500 visitors whilst the Great Ocean Road increased by 8.1 % from the previous year to 169,300 visitors.
“Clearly the key strengths of Melbourne’s bays and peninsulas are the accessible coastline, beachside towns, maritime heritage, marine wildlife experiences, wineries and golf courses.” Ms. Asher said.
“These are especially important assets for selling this region as an excellent destination for a short getaway to interstate and international visitors.”
Chief Executive Officer of Searoad Ferries Mr. Matt McDonald said the upgrade marked a significant milestone which would see the company realign itself from a transport provider to a tourism experience operator and play a leadership role in generating regional tourism in Victoria.
“As if the breathtaking natural scenery, fresh sea air and seasonal dolphin and whale spotting weren’t enough, an interactive showcase will present documentaries, visitor information and regional travel advice as well as inform passengers on the history of the area and the sights and sounds they’ll experience en route.” Mr. McDonald said.