Chi­nese spend up

City cen­tre vis­i­tors pour in $14 bil­lion

Herald Sun - - NEWS - JOHN MASANAUSKAS @JMasanauskas

A SURGE of vis­i­tors from China con­trib­uted to a $14 bil­lion spend in cen­tral Mel­bourne last year.

A Mel­bourne City Coun­cil re­port has found the city wel­comed 12.4 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic vis­i­tors in 2016-17.

That was up about 10 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year.

There were 5.7 mil­lion do­mes­tic daytrip vis­i­tors, 4.9 mil­lion do­mes­tic overnight ar­rivals, and 1.8 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional overnight vis­i­tors.

This in­cluded 436,000 peo­ple from China, who spent an es­ti­mated $2.6 bil­lion in Vic­to­ria based on an aver­age $146 daily spend, ac­cord­ing to the Mel­bourne Re­tail and Hos­pi­tal­ity Strat­egy 2013-17 re­port, re­leased yes­ter­day.

It re­vealed that the in­ner city has al­most 3000 cafes, restau­rants and bars, and 2153 shops which gen­er­ated $11.2 bil­lion for the econ­omy.

Act­ing Lord Mayor Ar­ron Wood said the city’s re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­tries em­ployed 66,664 peo­ple and the re­tail va­cancy rate of 2.7 per cent was be­low the his­toric aver­age.

“Mel­bourne is an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar vis­i­tor des­ti­na­tion which means more cus­tomers for our re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses,” he said.

“The City of Mel­bourne em­ploys a range of strate­gies and poli­cies to stim­u­late growth in our re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­tries in­clud­ing event spon­sor­ship, busi­ness grants, mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and precinct sup­port fund­ing.”

Last year, city coun­cil events in­cluded Vogue Amer­i­can Ex­press Fash­ion’s Night Out, Mel­bourne Knowl­edge Week, and Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

The re­port said the city had 455,800 work­ers and at­tracted 928,000 vis­i­tors on an aver­age week­day.

Over the Christ­mas 2016 pe­riod, 59 per cent of peo­ple spent more than $100 dur­ing their trip, com­pared with 41 per cent in 2015. An es­ti­mated 95 per cent

of in­ter­na­tional overnight vis­i­tors to Vic­to­ria went to Mel­bourne, with most from China, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

The num­ber of in­ter­na­tional re­tail­ers grew to 137, more than dou­ble the num­ber five years ago.

To­day, the CBD will host the 12-hour Shop the City event in­volv­ing Mel­bourne Cen­tral, Em­po­rium Mel­bourne, QV Mel­bourne, The Strand Mel­bourne and Mel­bourne GPO.

The re­tail­ers will cel­e­brate Na­tional Marsh­mal­low Day.

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