Victoria lays claim to Australia’s most popular city

Int'l traveller survey suggests Melbourne as visitor's favourite destination

Over the past 12 months, Victoria has experienced some major tourism wins. Recent data from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) found Melbourne to be the top domestic overnight destination for those travelling to attend theatre, concerts and performing arts. More recently, the agency’s data showed visitor expenditure in Victoria hit a record high of $36.9 billion in the year ending September 2023.

Brendan McClements, CEO of Visit Victoria, spoke at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne last week to apprise delegates of Victoria’s tourism plans going forward. However, McClements told Signature Media’s Cathy Wagstaff in a one-on-one interview that new data indicates Melbourne is the most popular Australian city among international travellers.

“On exit, Tourism Australia issues a survey to travellers,” McClements explains. “When the states receive the feedback it’s distilled down into a common tool used across the industry – the net promoter score – and Melbourne has Australia’s highest net promoter score for a city.” A net promoter score measures customer loyalty by looking at their likelihood of recommending a product or business.

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“It’s a combination of culture, food, drinks and sport, being able to live like a local,” said McClements.”What we think we’re being told is that Melbourne offers the best city experience.

“We understand that many cities have good food or cultural experiences, and we may not have the natural or built attractions that other cities have, but we have a way of interacting in the city that gives people a layered, urban experience.”

The outlook for Victoria is good. McClements reported international seat capacity has returned past 100% of pre-COVID levels, and Melbourne now holds Australia’s largest hotel market of more than 26,000 rooms, with more than 230 new hotels opening since 2020. The Visit Victoria CEO cited Melbourne’s ability to absorb and host more than 260,000 people for Taylor Swift’s concerts earlier this year, and then the F1 Grand Prix, as an example of just how much capacity the city now has for hosting visitors.

InterContinental Sorrento, Mornington Peninsula

There’s also a selection of luxury properties in Melbourne, McClements highlights.

“We’ve seen the Ritz-Carlton, Le Meridian, W Hotel open up, InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula and the Royce Hotel has also reopened after refurbishment,” said McClements, who also tapped new developments in the Mornington Peninsula as potential major drawcards.

“The first regional five-star hotel in Victoria, the InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula, is there, but again, that combination of wildlife, food, wine culture is increasingly found there; with sport, great golf courses and accommodation.”

Meanwhile, Visit Victoria has welcomed an additional $21.8 million in funding over four years to help the state market itself, announced on Wednesday.

Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said the support will see Visit Victoria deliver industry training programs as well as marketing activities to promote the diverse experiences across the regions and encourage more people to explore Victoria.

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