April CEO Message 2017: Rolling out the red carpet

Melbourne has a lot to celebrate of late. The city has rolled out the red carpet for the prestigious World’s Best 50 Restaurant awards, where over160 international chefs and food paparazzi tasted and savoured Melbourne’s very best in food and wine.  We’re also very proud that the only two Australian restaurants to receive scores in the top 50, are Victorian - Attica and Brae.

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) are also celebrating being one of the world’s top 20 art galleries for attendances. According to the UK’s The Art Newspaper latest global museum survey, in 2016 NGV was the 19th most popular global art gallery with more than 2.6 million visitors. This ranking places the gallery in the company of Paris Musee d’Orsay and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. NGV’s attendance figures have been rapidly increasing year on year and given that Melbourne’s international and domestic tourism figures are far less compared to Europe and the US, this is a significant achievement.

Destination Melbourne is also celebrating that intrastate overnight visitor numbers and visitor expenditure to Melbourne have increased by 8.5% according to the latest National Visitor Survey results (year ended December 2016). We launched our dedicated Melbourne Now campaign to the regional Victoria market over 18 months ago and it is rewarding to see that our annual rollout of campaign activity is contributing towards the growth of intrastate visitation to Melbourne.  Regional Victorians are highly engaged with Melbourne Now social media platforms with Facebook recently reaching over 15,000 followers.

The development of the Greater Melbourne Destination Management Visitor Plan is on track, as over 65 stakeholder interviews and 10 stakeholder workshops were recently held across Greater Melbourne. Destination Melbourne is leading this project in conjunction with our 24 local council and three State Government partners. This comprehensive stakeholder consultation process gathered key learnings and ideas, which will greatly contribute towards the plan’s development. This strategic plan will provide leading recommendations on how the visitor industry can improve the visitor experience, visitor servicing and introduce game changing initiatives to ensure Melbourne retains its competitive edge. In May qualitative research with interstate and international leisure and business visitors will be undertaken to receive direct insights on their experiences and perceptions of Melbourne.  It is estimated that the plan will be finalised by September 2017.

Following the success of our inaugural Check into China program last year, Destination Melbourne will be offering it again in 2017. This highly beneficial program empowers businesses to become market ready, it deepens cultural understanding and provides key support for strategy development for the Chinese market. The program will run from July to December, further details are provided on our website.

The next few months will continue to be busy on the visitor front with the opening of Legoland at Chadstone, Aladdin the Musical, My Fair Lady, Opera Australia’s Carmen, ACMI’s Wallace & Gromit and NGV’s Van Gogh and the Seasons exhibition. Plus we can’t forget the blockbuster soccer matches between Brazil versus Argentina and Brazil versus the Socceroos in June.