02.02.2022Game, set and…now ready to race!

We love our summer, and our tennis.

Melburnians and a global TV audience have experienced a fascinating Australian Open tennis tournament. As we moved to the finals, the focus shifted to the on-court action after the disappointing and distracting border control issues. The on-court action, facilities and Melbourne events industry delivered a truly amazing event and as we farewell the tennis community, the international focus now turns to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in April. The rules have been made clear. To enter the country and attend the event you’ll need to be fully vaccinated – no exemptions will be granted.

As we count down to the Grand Prix in 62 days, the Melbourne events industry is also working on rebuilding our world-renowned events calendar. Over the next six months, Melbourne is set to host at least 14 hallmark events from world class sporting events to international theatre, arts and culture festivals. We look forward to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Harry Potter, Moulin Rouge, the NGV’s Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto, the International Flower and Garden Show and RISING, to name a few.

So, Melbourne will once again be recognised for delivering world class events, in world class venues for an international audience to enjoy.

With planning for these events well underway, it is timely to reflect upon the amazing physical assets we have in Melbourne that are the envy of cities around the world. For example, thanks to the recent $972 million Melbourne Park Redevelopment funded by the Victorian Government, Melbourne Park will remain the home of the Australian Open until at least 2040 and the feedback from spectators and players on the new amenity has been glowing.

This year, the Grand Prix track around Albert Park Lake has been redesigned and resurfaced to provide faster lap times, more overtaking and faster cornering. This is an impressive upgrade delivered during COVID lockdowns, the first since the track was constructed in 1995. As a result, Melbourne will shine as global audiences tune into the event, broadcast with more action and stunning Melbourne views.

It’s no surprise that the Commonwealth Games Federation recently reached out to Melbourne and Victoria to possibly host again in 2026; we have the unsurpassed infrastructure, industry capability and expertise to do so, if we choose.

But we also have a long way to go as we learn to live with the pandemic. It’s important that we work collaboratively to reset our annual events calendar for international, community and business events. Events are not just a key driver of our economy, they are a powerful international marketing tool, amplifying our brand globally for trade, tourism and skilled migration. They are also a unique community celebration.

Melbourne delivers a calendar of over 1500 events and festivals a year and the supply side of our events industry, hospitality sector, and network of passionate volunteers need our support on their road to recovery.

So, a hearty congratulations to Committee for Melbourne members – Melbourne and Olympic Park for the delivery of another successful Australian Open and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation as they plan for the delivery of the Grand Prix in April – and to our events industry at large.

The Committee for Melbourne’s Visitor Economy Reference Group will continue to advocate for proactive support for our tourism and events industry as part of our Road to Recovery agenda.

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