Research report

Draft alpine resorts strategic plan 2012

12 Jun 2012

This document reviews the Alpine Resorts 2020 Strategy released in 2004 and proposes six strategic objectives to guide sustainable, four-season and vibrant resort development in Victoria's alpine region.


An assessment of outcomes since 2004 by the ARCC concludes that:

Visitation and growth

• Winter visitor days are growing slowly and visitor numbers have grown in recent years. Over the last decade, growth in winter visitor days has been stronger than for tourism in the state as a whole, in regional Victoria and in the High Country.

• Green season visitor numbers are small but growing, helped by a focus on events, new product development and marketing by resorts and the Board for Alpine Resorts Tourism. However, the 2020 Strategy’s focus on the resorts as year-round tourist destinations is overdone, to the detriment of focusing more closely on financial sustainability of resorts.

• Alpine Resort Management Boards (ARMBs) are seeking to broaden the accessibility of their resorts to a wider range of people but there is no measurement program to assess progress on a consistent and comprehensive basis.

Environment, social, cultural

• Climate change projections are tending to the high impact end of CSIRO 2003–07 projections (section 5.5) but snow-making investments have helped to provide more stability in winter visitation in the face of variable natural snow cover.

• ARMBs have taken steps to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve resort environmental outcomes but there is no measurement program to assess progress on a consistent and comprehensive basis across the resorts.

• The absence of e¡ective key performance indicators (KPI) measurement processes for environmental and social indicators suggests a need to review the relevant indicators, to ensure they are e¡ective in their intent and to re-assert the importance of performance measurement processes.

• Cultural heritage considerations are under examination by ARMBs but there has been limited progress in implementing new initiatives.


• The six strategic objectives set out in the 2020 Strategy need revision to remove duplication and better reflect the evolving context within which resorts are operating.

The most significant findings, in summary, are that the 2020 Strategy has assisted in promoting visitor growth in resorts in a competitive marketplace, but has given insuffcient attention to the long-term financial viability of resorts and has been excessively optimistic about what might be possible at resorts, in total, during the green season. In particular, it is important that the distinctive characteristics, qualities and opportunities of each resort provide the foundations for their particular development directions and that governance and funding arrangements are matched to development opportunities within an integrated industry framework.

A greater focus on performance measurement is then needed to support e¡ective outcomes and policy adjustment over time. This assessment has also been informed by an extensive consultation program (see section 4 and Appendix 2). Together these form the foundations of the draft Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan 2012.


• The alpine resorts continue to make a significant economic contribution to Victoria and to the regions in which they are located, with winter adding about $610 million to Victorian Gross State Product (GSP) in 2011 and large contributions to the regional economies around resort areas (for example, Alpine Shire, Mansfield, Marysville, Murrindindi Shire).

• Through their indirect contribution to revenue flows, the resorts are substantial net financial contributors to the state and federal governments.

• The larger ARMBs are generally able to make a small operating profit but this is not su§cient to fund significant infrastructure additions, partly because of a government requirement for ARMBs to fund some noncommercial activities.

• The two smaller ARMBs are losing money on operations, posing questions about the development strategy that should be pursued for these resorts.

• There is no industry level plan of public investment opportunities, with supporting business cases, to help promote further resort development and visitor growth.

• The funding model for ARMBs needs to be reviewed.

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