From world-class tourist attractions and food and wine regions to spectacular natural wonders recognised around the world, it’s almost impossible to run out of things to do in Victoria.
But if you’re looking for some guidance on which are the best of the best, keep an eye on the annual RACV Victorian Tourism Awards, which will be announced on 23 November.
Major attractions, festivals, tours and accommodation will be awarded across 30 categories, which will also include recognition of the contribution made by volunteers.
For one of the awards’ judges, RACV’s tourism product and sales co-ordinator Helen Charles, getting to experience so many attractions makes this aspect of her work more like a holiday.
“I’ve always had a passion for travel, and I still get excited when I get to travel throughout Victoria, as our state provides enjoyment to so many people,” says Helen.
RACV’s involvement in the awards continues a century-long tradition of promoting tourism in Victoria. In her role, Helen manages the organisation’s relationships with tourism partners – from small businesses to major attractions – right across the country. RACV also provides members with discounted access to hundreds of attractions – from theme parks to zoos – as well as theatre and arts events and outdoor activities.
Helen Charles says small operators play just as important a role as big-ticket destinations and attractions in keeping Victorian tourism vibrant.
“Small business is a huge driver of tourism and the broader economy in Victoria,” she says. “It draws people to a region – for example, people visit a specific area to go snorkelling with dolphins or to visit a craft brewery may then stay and experience other attractions there.”
Tourism is one of the state’s biggest economic drivers. According to data published by Business Victoria, in 2015-16 Victoria’s tourism industry was worth more than $23 billion, accounting for 6.2 per cent of Victoria’s gross state product. Also, travelling and holidays are an acknowledged stress reliever for people during uncertain times.
“You don’t have to travel far in Victoria to have an amazing experience,” Helen says, “and there are so many attractions available to everybody regardless of their budget.”