ANY chance for people to visit Ballarat quicker from interstate and overseas has to be applauded says Ballarat Regional Tourism chair Iain Gunn.
But an even further step would see some work on development of the Ballarat Airport as a potential fight base to Sydney or Adelaide.
At the weekend, the state government announced the deal to construct a new rail line from Sunshine to Tullamarine Airport. The route would see trains run every 10 minutes to the airport and allow for a connection to the Ballarat line.
A plan to build a dedicated tunnel from Sunshine to Southern Cross, thus freeing up space for other routes into the city was rejected due to a number of reasons, but two were understood to be the lack of hop-on, hop-off options and the inability to travel from other parts of the state.
While some, including the Committee For Ballarat chief executive Michael Poulton and Rail Futures Institute president John Hearsch are concerned about how the new route will effect plans for fast rail and electrification, the tourism industry has welcomed the decision.
"Anything that can make it easier for people to get to Ballarat is a good thing," Mr Gunn said.
"I understand for some people it's not the perfect outcome, it's a difficult set of circumstances.
"But I think it will certainly make visiting Ballarat more attractive, it would certainly help with attracting conferences and events. Personally, I'd love to see Ballarat Airport developed so we can have some limited regular flights to Sydney or Adelaide."
The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) chief executive Felicia Mariani said the Melbourne Airport Rail Link and the fast train to Geelong were pivotal projects to give tourists efficient access to the CBD and regional Victoria.
"The $10 billion airport rail commitment from the Andrews and Morrison governments realises a 50-year vision," Ms Mariani said.
"It will provide a much-needed boost to Victoria's economic recovery and deliver a long-awaited addition to the state's tourism infrastructure.
"As air passenger numbers grow and road congestion increases, an airport rail link, coupled with the successful Skybus service to the CBD and suburbs, is vital to ensure reliable and affordable transit for tourists."