Foreign tourists ‘generate jobs and money’ Stephen Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org MOONLIT Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park director Michael Johnson sees no problem with 61,000 international visitors coming to the Mornington Peninsula each year. He says Rye Community Group Alliance president Mechelle Cheers “shouldn’t be worried … rather, she should focus on the estimated 4.2 million day-trippers from Melbourne that visit annually”. The Pearcedale tourism operator said it was visitors from Melbourne causing traffic jams, not those from overseas. Ms Cheers is concerned about the impact of mass tourism on the peninsula – especially its effects on vegetation, animals and people (“Tourism can have downside”, The News, 10/10/17). “It is time the issue was openly discussed and debated,” she said. “This is a conversation that needs to be had – especially for the protection of the southern end of the peninsula.” Mr Johnson said Moonlit Sanctuary has more than 50,000 international visitors each year. “The advantage of the international market is that they come throughout the year, including midweek and off-peak periods,” he said. “If you want visitors on a wet Wednesday in July, international tourism is where it is at. Visitors from Melbourne
usually only turn up on weekends and holidays when the sun is shining.” Mr Johnson said big spending international visitors helped create sustainable jobs. “According to Visit Victoria figures, the average overnight international visitor to the peninsula spends $909, while domestic overnight visitors spend an average $303 and day-trippers $93,” he said. Ms Cheers’s comments were as Flinders MP Greg Hunt presented figures showing a rise in the number of international visitors to the peninsula and growth in the spending patterns of residents and local visitors. When contacted by The News, Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board executive chair Tracey Cooper said “All tourists, whether domestic or international visitors, play an invaluable role in the local economy. They employ thousands directly and indirectly. The summer peak period, in particular when residents and the 24,000 holiday home owners are out enjoying the Mornington Peninsula can put a strain on resources. “One of our roles as the Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board is to work with Industry and different levels of government to provide the resources and amenities necessary for locals, holiday home owner and visitors alike to get the maximum enjoyment out of our lovely region”.
Cheaper, greener: Boneo Maze business owner Michael Wittingslow. Picture: Supplied
Maze goes solar to save and upgrade THE power needs of some local businesses are becoming cheaper and greener – thanks to a partnership with Mornington Peninsula Shire. Boneo Maze is one of five businesses to sign an environmental upgrade agreements (EUA) to install solar panels. Others on board are the Rye Hotel, One four Nelson, Hussey’s and Co and Paringa Estate Winery. The installation of a14 kilowatt system at the maze takes the total solar power installed through EUAs on the
peninsula to 230kW. Maze owner Michael Wittingslow said the EUA was an opportunity to further the environmental sustainability of his business. “EUAs presented a much smoother and easier option for us to invest in solar panels compared to applying for a traditional bank loan,” he said. The shire is offering EUAs to businesses owning or leasing commercial, non-residential buildings on the peninsula. The low-interest “financing
mechanisms” enable businesses to better access finance for environmental upgrades to existing buildings. The mayor Cr Bev Colomb said EUAs provide “a great opportunity for local business owners to reduce their energy, water and waste while also gaining in significant economic savings”. Details: mornpen.vic.gov.au or call Shay Singh at Sustainable Melbourne Fund 9658 8740 or Nicci Tsernjavski at the shire 5950 1297.
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Southern Peninsula News 17 October 2017