Starting the year with a bang
By Dianne Smith, VTIC Chief Executive
Why on earth would you leave Victoria over summer? There are so many great attractions to visit and experiences to be had. I thoroughly enjoyed sampling regional delights and being a tourist over the Christmas break.
Summer wouldn’t be summer without the Australian Open tennis championships. As one of four pillars underpinning Victoria’s major events calendar, it heralds the start of the year. The tournament is memorable in many ways, however the beaming faces of Chinese and Korean ball kids featured on the front cover of The Age is fixed most in my mind. The collaboration with Chinese and Korean tennis and the Trophy Tour complement Victoria’s tourism strategy as well as strengthens diplomatic and trade connections. At a local level, collaboration is also a key part of the success of the Open. It was great to see so many operators highlight the tennis theme for their visitors. This year visitors will have been much more aware of the impressive new infrastructure steadily emerging in the Olympic Parks precinct that enables this event and many other activities.
Chinese New Year
VTIC is pleased to be collaborating again with the City of Melbourne and Destination Melbourne as we showcase Chinese New Year festivities. A new cooperative marketing and PR campaign, supported by the Victorian industry, was launched this week. It highlights the importance of locals engaging in this festival across the state, and how growing the appreciation of Chinese culture is vital for supporting our future tourism prospects.
Traditional public transport ticket machines ceased operating on trams and trains in Melbourne on 29 December. It’s encouraging to know that Myki Visitor Packs are now being sold at the Skybus terminal at Melbourne Airport as well as Southern Cross Station, Federation Square, visitor information centres and other outlets. Public Transport Victoria’s Alan Fedda has accepted VTIC’s invitation to update members of the tourism industry at a briefing on 19 February.
Yet again regions have grappled with the challenges of fire, particularly in Gippsland and the High Country. We’ve encouraged visitors to travel safely and check local conditions, using resources such as the CFA website and new FireReady app. It’s worth noting how the tourism industry engagement and availability of information before, during and after emergencies has improved over the years. It’s certainly a positive evolution to move away from the expression ‘catastrophic conditions' that was in use just a few years ago.
Congratulations to Bruce Esplin
Someone who has made a major contribution to emergency management procedures is the former Emergency Services Commissioner, Bruce Esplin, who was so deservedly acknowledged with an AM in the Australia Day honours. Well done Bruce!
Changing of the guard at Destination Melbourne and Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
Summer also provides time for reflection and Chris Buckingham and Mark Challis have obviously been doing a bit of this with announcements that they’ll be leaving the Destination Melbourne and Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges marketing organisations respectively. Thank you for your outstanding contributions to these roles gentlemen and good luck for your imminent and exciting next phases.
To help guide VTIC into our next exciting phase, I look forward to seeing many of you at our Ideas Forums being held in Melbourne, Ballarat and Shepparton (and possibly Gippsland) in early February.
Happy late Summer everyone!