Enhancing parks and gardens, activating the bay and supporting the development of key visitor attractions are the hallmarks of a Western Melbourne Tourism plan to boost tourism in the west by 21% over the next decade.
The regional tourism board, which launched its Melbourne’s West Destination Management Visitor plan, aims to attract 4.3 million visitors to the west by the 2026-27 financial year and boost overnight stays by 90% to 12.4 million stays.
Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Melton, Wyndham and Moonee Valley attracted 3.6 million visitors over 2017-18, with 76% making day trips and 20% staying overnight. The west’s tourism economy currently brings in $1.45 billion.
Visiting parks and gardens was the top must-do attraction (45%) as identified in a visitor survey, followed by shopping (24%), art, museums and cultural attractions (23%) and restaurants and cafes (22%).
Western Melbourne Tourism executive officer Richard Ponsford said enhancing the west’s natural assets – including parks, gardens, the bay coastline and industrial precincts like the Newport rail yards – was a key part of the plan.
Ponsford said it was also important to boost accommodation options in the region, with the west having above-average rates of visitors coming in for day trips and not staying overnight.
He said the new Airport rail link and international flights in and out of Avalon Airport would be game changers for tourism in the west.