September 10, 2021 | By Graeme Kemlo

Most Victorian regions now have COVID restrictions eased, but it will bring little joy for tourism businesses since the majority of their visitors come from metropolitan Melbourne, which continues its sixth lockdown.

Damien Cerantonio of Great Ocean Road Resort at Anglesea, one of Victoria’s top tourist destinations, says that until restrictions are fully lifted it will mean little extra business. Cerantonio, who is also deputy chair of Business Events Victoria, says the industry expects the state might open up by mid-October.

“Ninety per cent of our business events come from Melbourne but until restrictions are fully lifted we can’t have more than 10 in our restaurant, so it is not viable to open it. We will get some leisure guests and we are well supported in our day spa by locals,” he said.

“There is still demand for business events. We get calls even during lockdown and most of our meetings bookings keep getting postponed so we’re confident we’ll be hosting business teams before the end of the year.”

Since the pandemic hit, Cerantonio said they had spent $1.5 million on the resort, adding a new day spa, restaurant and updating rooms, conference facilities and the indoor pool.

“And now we’re refurbishing another 13 rooms while we’re still restricted.”

They have also just launched a corporate retreat program for teams of 10 focussed on wellness, but typically the property suits meetings for 20 to 60, with 17 overflow rooms available at their motel next door.