30.06.2020Visitor Economy Reference Group

Last week, our Greater Melbourne Visitor Economy Reference group met, continuing the discussion on enhanced industry collaboration models and the COVID-19 visitor economy and hospitality sector response.  

The reference group comprises skills and representative based experts from the Committee for Melbourne community, with a unique range of experience and networks. 

  • David Mansfield, COO, Quest Apartments (accommodation) 
  • Steve O’Brien, CEO, Puffing Billy (attractions) 
  • Richard Ponsford, CEO, Western Tourism (suburban tourism agenda) 
  • Anthea Loucas Bosha, CEO, Food and Wine Festival (Hospitality and events) 
  • Natalie O’Brien, CEO, Natalie O’Brien and Associates (precincts, regions and hospitality) 
  • Louise Scott, Director, City of Melbourne (Melbourne City Tourism) 
  • Clive DwyerDirector of Engagement, Committee for Melbourne 
  • Leanne EdwardsDirector of Policy and Research, Committee for Melbourne 


In attendance were: 

  • Felicia Mariani, CEOVTIC 
  • Justin Burney and Nicole Mclean from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions 
  • Martine Letts, CEOCommittee for Melbourne   


The significant experience of the reference group has allowed us to focus on:  

  • An industry engagement strategy for Greater Melbourne, noting that the May annual member survey highlighted the future of the Visitor Economy as a new strategic need for the Committee for Melbourne 
  • Maximizing collaboration for the COVID-19 Industry and Government response  
  • Ensuring a strategic approach to brand positioning and new market priorities  
  • Sharing of intelligence between visitor economy sectors including attractions, festivals, accommodation, arts and culture, international students, hospitality and business/leisure events 
  • Ensuring metropolitan Melbourne tourism agendas are integrated with City and regional tourism strategies, currently a concerning gap in Melbourne’s strategy   
  • Exploring ways to measure and champions the visitor experience in Melbourne.


Special recognition was given to the significant efforts of VTIC and the Victorian Government to assist this crucial industry sector.  

The reference group is now planning its third and fourth forums on the visitor economy. We have scheduled a June forum with Committee for Sydney on Capital City Visitor economies and their importance, and July forum focusing on the importance of the international student sector to Melbourne. 

Register here for more information on the visitor economy reference group and upcoming events.

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