Major events spin gold for a city’s economy, and Melbourne has proven to the heartland of big ticket attractions this March with an unprecedented number of international and local sporting, fashion, food and cultural show pieces.
The month kicked off with the VIP launch of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, and flowed into major events including; the Australian International Air Show at Avalon, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix event and the AFL season launch.
The action didn’t stop there, with the Australian Ballet production of Faster followed by the start of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The icing on the cake was the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
The cavalcade of events, the perfect weather in Melbourne and the cultural landscape as a whole mean tourism dollars have been going through the roof as well.
The economic spin-off that these major events bring
You only need to look at the numbers from the 2017 Australian International Airshow to see the rivers of gold that flow from these major events.
The crowd was up 40,000 from the 2015 event, with 210,664 turning out to take in the spectacle. That included 33,000 international delegates from 45 countries who came to soak in the aviation masterclass, exposure that money can’t buy.
It is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs and inject A$150 million into the economy, which Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan said could only equate to good outcomes.
“It should come as no surprise that our world-class events are bringing record crowds, creating jobs and driving huge benefits for our economy,” he said.
Events year round are bringing in greater numbers
While the volume of events in March was unprecedented, the interest in Melbourne’s attractions is not. The 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival was the biggest running of The Race that Stops the Nation to date, and a recent economic impact study showed that it tipped A$427.1 million into the economy – 10.1 per cent more than 2015.
Of the 330,000 people that jammed into Flemington, 119,367 were from out of state. More than A$38 million was spent on 234,104 nights in local accommodation. A further A$44.3 million was splashed out on retail, up 6 per cent from 2015.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren said this economic impact study showed the dramatic impact major events had for Melbourne business.
“Its benefits are felt right across our state—creating jobs, filling our hotels, and keeping our local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants buzzing,” he said.
The government drive to push these events to new levels
The success of these recent events is no accident. The government piloted the Victorian Visitor Economy Strategy in 2016, with bold ambitions to increase visitor spending to A$36.5 billion by 2025 and generate over 320,000 jobs.
To achieve this goal, the government plans to secure more private investment, improve branding and marketing, improve experiences for visitors from Asia, create better tourism infrastructure and a range of other measures.
Mr Eren said improving infrastructure in regional Victoria to attract cashed up tourists from Asia was a major part of the strategy.