The International Visitor Survey (IVS) has released statistics that show the number of international visitors to Victoria, Australia, has increased to a record 1.3 million visitors a year. According to IVS, international visitor nights grew 12 per cent (to 29.2 million nights) compared with the year to March 2005.
Victoria’s Tourism Minister, John Pandazopoulos said ‘These figures provide further confirmation that the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games were a draw-card for international tourists.’
In 2005, international visitors to Victoria spent AU$2.3 billion and, over the six years to 2005, international visitor expenditure in Victoria increased at an average annual rate of 7.8 per cent, outperforming the national total (up 5.5 per cent) and the other Australian states and territories.
So why is Victoria such a popular destination for international visitors? The answer in respect of business tourists lies in the state’s excellent business facilities. Melbourne is consistently one of the ten most popular destinations in the world for international conventions and the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC) has been a major draw. Furthermore, the Melbourne Conference and Visitors Bureau (MCVB) has taken a very proactive approach to promote the city’s attributes.
During financial year 2004/2005, MCVB secured business events for Melbourne worth an estimated AU$192 million. In total, events bring up to 48,000 delegates to Melbourne to stay around 133,830 nights in the city’s hotels.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games also demonstrated Melbourne’s prowess for staging major international events. For twelve days in March, Melbourne’s infrastructure and event venues were at full capacity, with 90,000 international and interstate visitors swarming into the city, as well as 4,500 athletes from 71 nations and 1,500 team officials. The full extent of the games attendance is not yet known but will produce an even more impressive picture than the one painted by the International Visitor Survey. ‘While the IVS captures some of the international visitors who came to Victoria for the Commonwealth Games, final results will be available in the Commonwealth Games Economic Impact Study to be released in the second half of the year,’ Mr Pandazopoulos confirmed.
The IVS is compiled by Tourism Research Australia (TRA, formerly known as the Bureau of Tourism Research) and is based on around 40,000 face to face interviews with international visitors departing Australian airports.