As I walked through the CBD this week, I noticed that Christmas merchandise is already appearing in our stores – prematurely I say – but it serves as a timely reminder of the pace of change and being prepared for what comes ahead.
We recently celebrated Melbourne Tourism Week 2018 under the theme of Power Up! to complement the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s theme for this year’s World Tourism Day -‘Tourism and the digital transformation’. This choice of themes prompts us to think about our place in an evolving digital future, and how we will aim to meet the expectations of visitors.
For our part, we continue to develop and grow our digital offering. At this year’s Exchange industry expo, we had over 450 registered attendees and 79 exhibitors, our highest number to date.
For the first time this event was a digital experience with our dedicated event app, designed by our technology partner Evise. This app not only managed registrations, but, provided clear exhibitor details and empowered people to scan and store attendee details. This provided exhibitors with tangible leads for future connections.
At the Exchange, we also announced– the evolution of the printed ACCOM guide for the Regional Victorian market – into a 100% digital offering. We excited about the flexibility, access and streamlined experience this will offer Regional Victorian visitors, as well as the return on investment this will present to our accommodation partners.
During Melbourne Tourism Week we also held the Ideas Feast, our food tourism luncheon, which hosted over 100 people, at the beautiful Encore St Kilda Beach. The Ideas Feast was an opportunity to talk food tourism with our panel of guest speakers including the legendary Alla Wolf-Tasker AM from Lake House Daylesford, Stuart Gregor from the successful Four Pillars gin distillery and Alejandro Saravia, owner of the iconic laneway Peruvian restaurant, Pastuso. Moderated by food blogger and journalist Wendy Hargreaves this session focussed on what it takes to build a successful culinary business that stands the test of time.
Finally, still on the theme of evolution and change, I am delighted to announce that next week we are launching Greater Melbourne’s very first Destination Management Visitor Plan. The development of this plan has been undertaken in partnership with 24 local councils and three State Government Partners.
It has taken an extraordinary amount of work, intensive visitor research and detailed stakeholder engagement - the largest piece of visitor research ever undertaken of visitors in destination.
Melbourne is changing at a rapid rate. For this city to retain its visitor appeal, we welcome this strategic framework to guide the visitor industry along a path of sustainable growth, collaboration and improved economic outcomes for all tourism and community stakeholders. The Plan’s executive summary will become available via our website next week.