Visiting Friends and Relatives Bearing Fruit for Melbourne

By . Posted on April 11th, 2012 under Blog, News

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Each year Destination Melbourne commissions research that tracks the economic value of the Visiting Friends and Relatives market (VFR) to Greater Melbourne.

It underpins the marketing activity undertaken in partnership with Local Councils across Melbourne to increase dispersal, yield and expenditure by visitors through the Discover Your Own Backyard Campaign.

In a most pleasant Easter surprise we received our most recent report from Datainsights over the long weekend. Our reading of the figures suggests that there is cause for smiles all around.

For all the doom and gloom permeating the national tourism agenda, Melbourne’s performance as a destination is looking particularly strong. The Visiting Friends and Relatives Market is one of the positive contributors to Melbourne’s success.

Key Highlights: Visiting Friends and Relatives Report Year End December 2011*

• Melbourne received over 7.6 million VFR visitors – up by 11.7% on YE Dec 10.
• VFR visitors stayed for over 16.4 million nights – up by 3.5% on YE Dec 10.
• In total, VFR visitors spent an estimated $2.8 billion in Melbourne – up by 8.8% on YE Dec 10.

We can all draw some pleasure from this very positive set of numbers. Remember the International Visitor Survey and the National Visitor Surveys do not take into account host expenditure, which makes the whole story even more compelling.

Destination Melbourne initiated the VFR project with Melbourne’s 31 Local Governments just over three years ago. Until then VFR was the forgotten market. Our industry knew it was important, but everyone struggled with how best to approach it.

At the very core of any successful VFR strategy sits an unqualified commitment to educating and informing the host… the residents of Melbourne.

Like all successful tourism projects the key ingredient is a commitment to building meaningful partnerships that recognise each stakeholder has a role to play. VFR really is an opportunity best realised when business, community and government work together.

Together we are charting a new approach to reaching the VFR market and it seems to be gaining traction with consumers. If we see the growth trend reflected in this year’s numbers continue over the longer term, we will have real cause for celebration…

For the full report on Visiting Friends and Relatives Travel to Greater Melbourne (YE Dec 11) click here

If you would like to know more about the Discover Your Own Backyard campaign or the VFR Project please feel welcome to contact Denise Castro

* The report is based on information from the National Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS) – both datasets are managed and published by Tourism Research Australia (TRA).

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Chris Buckingham is the Chief Executive Officer of Destination Melbourne. With an unparalleled enthusiasm for all things that relate to the visitor experience. Chris leads the charge at Destination Melbourne with passion and pride. Chris is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; member of Vecci's Executive Council and an active member of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council.

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