While traffic from India into the state of Victoria in Australia was largely leisure traffic, Julia Swanson, Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne Convention Bureau, reveals that India has now become the largest source of leads out of the Asian-Pacific market.
How important is MICE traffic from India for Melbourne?
India was the fastest growing inbound market for Victoria pre-Covid. This was predominantly leisure travel. However, we have been steadily seeing increased business event interest out of India. India is now the largest source of leads out of the Asia-Pacific market and we have been increasing out engagement activity in the Indian market. We are seeing smaller groups travelling more frequently, a big focus on team building activities – reconnecting after two years stuck behind screens, and more sustainability focused activities.
How do sport/ entertainment events help destinations like Melbourne attract more high-spending visitors?
Melbourne prides itself on being the sports capital of Australia, with its enviable sporting precinct of stadiums, pools, tracks and fields. In fact, it is often commented that sport is like a religion in the Victorian capital city. Melbourne famously hosts international events like the Australian Open, legendary Boxing Day cricket test at the MCG and the Formula 1 Grand Prix. These major events attract a large number of visitors from around the world and also expose Melbourne to the world via international broadcasting. Many people wish to come to Melbourne as a result. The venues of these major events are all available to host business events.
What is the average night stay in Melbourne for Indian visitors?
The average night stay in Melbourne for Indian delegates is around four nights and the compact city is easy to navigate. For those wanting to explore further afield, the unique natural beauty of regional Victoria is just a short trip away. Four nights allows enough time to take that all in, but more nights means more time to add on other great experiences and indulge in some serious shopping which we know is a must do for many visitors.
What kind of engagements is Melbourne CB looking to conduct with event planners, corporates and MICE agencies in India?
While travel was not optimised through Covid, we ensured the Indian market was up to date with the latest happening in our city with inspiring product showcases via live-streaming and webinars from a host of interesting locations. One of my favourites was with Australian cricket coach and former Australian cricketer Brad Hodge, who joined the Melbourne Convention Bureau at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to present in a destination training webinar for key Indian travel agents. Now that travel is back, we have started hosting familiarisations. Engagement is set to increase with trade shows, sales calls and more familiarisations on our future activity list.
Is Melbourne prepared to conduct hybrid events?
While there is a pent up demand for in-person events, hybrid event options are on par for the course today. Melbourne is well set up to service this, with many venues adding hybrid and streaming options to their AV mix. The growth of technology was already happening, but escalated due to Covid. Together with our innovative partners, MCB can support the delivery of your event and ensure you are maximising reach and growing your audience. We have created a user-friendly hybrid events guide to Melbourne which details exciting hybrid solutions and professional conference organiser service for hybrid events.