The mining boom is over and Australia is looking to other industries to lead our charge into the future. According to The Australian this week our services sector led by tourism and education will become a prime focus.
QVM has an important role in tourism with a very high proportion of overseas visitors coming to our market. An often misunderstood, yet prime driver of visitor attendance is our comprehensive souvenir offer complemented by a range of tourist oriented stalls, particularly in the top end.
Market expert, David O'Neil, made the comment that QVM should focus on food - "make yourself the best food market and the tourists will come." There is every indication that the QVM Board adopts that philosophy, and that is fine. But how far is tourism just a by-product of a successful food market and how far does it deserve its own focus?
QVM is one of the great CBD markets of the world and our proximity to city accommodation and transport services will always mean that tourists see us as a desirable part of their itinerary. Visiting tourists may marvel at our food offer, and even partake of some ready-prepared food, but their visit is not complete without some serious shopping in the souvenir rich top-end of QVM. And we are talking about big visitor numbers. Around 2 million international visitors alone come to Melbourne each year. They rack up 47 million overnight stays, spend around $5 billion, and 55% of them visit markets. (Source - )
The balance between food and specialty merchandise is always going to be, well, a balancing act. Both areas of our market require attention after years of neglect and the upcoming renewal project is very timely. Deciding where to place your resources is important but the new emphasis on services like tourism and education may have just changed the formula. QVM's key role in Australia's tourism future has taken a new priority and we need to get our offer right.