06.05.2021Committee for Melbourne calls for urgent action on the visitor economy

The Committee’s Visitor Economy Reference Group (VERG) with members from across the visitor economy, including attractions, accommodation, hospitality, events, and creative industries, has reiterated its calls for urgent action for the sector to help revitalise the state.

The visitor economy in Victoria plays a significant role in the state’s economic success and international profile. The value of the sector was worth $32 billion and employed over 250,000 Victorians directly and indirectly in tourism businesses at the end of 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an extremely challenging environment for Melbourne’s visitor economy. With continuing lockdowns, pressure has been imposed across our economy and upon Melbourne’s reputation, particularly in key sectors relating to tourism and events.

There is no doubt that all levels of government have stepped in over the last 12 months to help support the industry, including through JobKeeper payments at a federal level and travel vouchers at a state level, encouraging people to return to travel and tourism activities.

However, in April, the Committee, in its submission to the Tourism Inquiry, highlighted that as the JobKeeper payments are eliminated, snap lock-downs continue and workers stay away from their CBD offices, significant challenges for Greater Melbourne’s visitor economy remain.

Melbourne needs to rebuild its reputation as the vibrant food, arts, theatre, sporting and cultural destination it has always been known for. The Committee recommended to the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Economy and Infrastructure, that it is essential that certainty and consistency in safety responses across borders and industries, is achieved. The Greater Melbourne travel voucher scheme, supported by a significant marketing campaign to drive visitation from regional areas, is also essential.

Like other states, Victoria needs a comprehensive destination management plan so that all consumers can access services and activities such as events, accommodation, attractions, theatre and sports in an integrated and seamless way.

Immediate actions and a long-term vision for Greater Melbourne’s visitor economy must be delivered if the sector is to recover from the pandemic.

Read the Committee’s submission to the Tourism Inquiry here.

For more information contact Leanne Edwards, Director Policy, ledwards@melbourne.org.au

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