10.12.2020Visitor economy reference group sees improved industry collaboration
Committee for Melbourne’s (the Committee) Visitor Economy Reference Group (VERG) was convened in late 2019 to address concerns about a lack of industry structure in Greater Melbourne and a need to see the Greater Melbourne tourism experience represented alongside our Central Melbourne and Regional Victoria experiences.
In April, 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, the Committee’s VERG working group was asked to also take on the challenge of the immediate devastating impact of COVID-19 on our visitor economy.
Simply put, Melbourne was the worst hit visitor economy in the country and is still in crisis, as we see regional Victoria and interstate recovering.
While many challenges still lie ahead there has been some significant success, assisting Government and cross sector operators to collaborate more effectively on tackling both immediate and longer-term challenges for greater Melbourne.
VERG, chaired by Clive Scott, General Manager of the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, brings together visitor economy experts – representing areas including Urban planning, Accommodation, Aviation, Attractions, Hospitality Food & Wine, Major Events & Business Events, Education and Creative Industries, Victorian Tourism Industry Council, Australian Accommodation Association of Australia, City of Melbourne, Greater Melbourne Councils and operators (north, south east and west) and government.
Through forums, stakeholder engagement and advocacy programs, VERG has achieved significant results.
Of particular note this month, the recent establishment of The Greater Melbourne Tourism Recovery Forum (GMTR). GMTR is facilitated by the Victorian Tourism Industry Council and will receive specific support from the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions.
GMTR has an industry representation parallel to the VERG taskforce and several Committee members are on the GMTR working group focusing the immediate specific COVID-19 agenda.
- Provide a voice for industry for support required to rebuild
- Identify and support supply side investment opportunities that can help stimulate the short-term visitor economy
- Help develop a coordinated approach for industry capability building
- Provide input into the role events will play in a post COVID-19 world
- Provide input to Visit Victoria on demand side support
- Facilitate engagement between Greater Melbourne LGAs and key industry stakeholders to support the sharing of information connecting on industry needs, insights and priorities
- Facilitate engagement with other government agencies as required
- Collaborate on projects and demand driving initiatives as required
The Committee will continue to support the development of this initiative and through VERG look to long term strategic agendas including:
Investigating effective Greater Melbourne Visitor Economy engagement models for the future
Measuring and championing the visitor experience, including identifying gaps in visitor services
Ongoing support of the Greater Melbourne Tourism Recovery Forum (GMTR) through forums and advocacy programs.
The Committee will release a visitor economy priority paper this month to address short-, medium- and longer-term challenges we face and to help set our agenda for 2021.
If you would like more information on VERG please email Clive Dwyer, Director of Engagement.