What an eventful month March has been. Melbourne has turned it on once again in the major events space, delivering yet another spectacular Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix and bringing in crowds from all over the globe.
Earlier this month, VTIC was proud to host the VTIC Visitor Economy Forum, which included the Tourism Australia Industry briefing and a Transport Panel featuring Victoria’s transport agency leaders. With a record number of attendees, we were overwhelmed by the positive response by industry and their willingness to share, learn and collaborate.
Looking forward, there are many more drawcard events to come, including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which will include 5000 local and international comedians in 550 shows and 6,860 performances, and also the ever-impressive Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, which have just commenced.
With the 2017-18 State Budget fast approaching, VTIC has continued to remain strong on the advocacy front. In order to seize the opportunities provided by our growing sector, we have been advocating with the Treasurer of Victoria and key Ministers for significant investment in the tourism and events industry.
Wednesday’s National Visitor Survey results revealed an alarming figure for business events expenditure. As ongoing funding for business events is a key priority area in VTIC’s Pre-Budget Submission, we urge the State Government to provide this funding so that Melbourne Convention Bureau can continue to deliver these events and ensure projects like the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre expansion are well utilised.
The results were bittersweet when it came to Victoria’s spend and visitor figures; which showed increases in regional Victoria, but declines in Melbourne. While this is a win for the regions, we ideally want to be positioned to see both regional Victoria and Melbourne indicators increase.
While we welcome the increase in Daytrip visitors to Victoria, the challenge is to convert these into overnight stays, as longer stays are key to boosting the visitor expenditure.
We have recently been highlighted in the media for our continued support for Australian tourism operator Pennicott Wilderness Journey’s proposal to operate wilderness cruises at Wilsons Promontory, and in recent days we have called on the State Government for greater investment in our regional attractions and destinations.
VTIC has also welcomed Paul Corrigan to the team, commencing as the Program Manager – ATAP.
VTIC will continue to be vocal in our endeavours to keep our sector, a major economic contributor to the state’s economy, alive and thriving. We dearly value the support of our members and industry friends and look forward to working in partnership with all levels of Government to strengthen our dynamic sector.