29.06.2020Greater Melbourne’s Visitor Economy – Road to Recovery Forum

In Committee’s E-ROOM virtual events space we welcomed 120 guests representing 80  members and stakeholders to the industry-lead Greater Melbourne’s Visitor Economy – Road to Recovery Forum. While the Visitor Economy has taken a massive hit from COVID-19, Greater Melbourne’s tourism and events industries have displayed great resilience during these unprecedented times, which will provide a great platform from which to rebuild. Collaborating for success was a key message.

You can watch the forum here

Our speakers included Felicia Mariani, Chief Executive, VTIC; Louise Scott, Director of Tourism and Events, City of Melbourne; Steve O‘Brien, Chief Executive Officer, Puffing Billy Railway; Anthea Loucas Bosha, Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival; and David Mansfield, Chief Operations Officer, Quest, and Accommodation Association of Australia. Moderated by Clive Dwyer, Director Engagement, Committee for Melbourne,  we heard an insightful discussion exploring the industry and individual operators’ challenges, trends and innovations. Importantly it was agreed operators must work together as we address the return to the ‘new normal’, especially with a new focus on the domestic tourism market in the short term.

The discussion highlighted and celebrated Greater Melbourne’s tourism industries display of great resilience during these unprecedented times. While it has been a tremendously difficult period, and apprehension and concern remain, the mood is becoming more optimistic.

It was also emphasised that Greater Melbourne, and Victoria, must look at how it positions itself following the COVID-19 crisis as an integrated experience with a focus on arts, culture, events, hospitality, health and wellness, and natural attractions.  It was agreed we need to focus on local and interstate visitation in the short term which will attract many visitors while international markets will be a longer-term proposition.

Collaboration is more than just a buzz word now. All levels of government and industry will need to work together to deliver tangible outcomes; to better understand the new type of customer that will emerge, to adjust recruitment and training so the requirements of the future workforce can be met and so that the way forward can be accessible and practical for operators.  Travel segments such as visiting friends and relatives and the International Student sector need specific attention.

This forum was the first in the series. A ‘Greater Melbourne Visitor Economy’ reference group has been established which will be developing policy platforms, hosting more forums and workshops over the coming months to explore both Central districts and Geater Melbourne opportunities. To register your interest in the ongoing series please email events@melbourne.org.au.

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