It is better to give than receive
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to 70 industry champions at the Hume Global Learning Centre in Broadmeadows. Attendees came from across the Northern and Western suburbs of Melbourne and they had one thing on their mind – how could they work together to make their part of Melbourne more competitive, more attractive and more successful.
This amazing group make an outstanding contribution to the success of the visitor industry year in year out, yet their names remain unspoken at the Victorian Tourism Awards, State Parliament or indeed at exclusive industry events.
They were positive and enthusiastic, their passion was palpable, they understood the importance of supporting the visitor experience yet we rarely hear from them at industry forums. They are the hard working volunteers from Visitor Information Centres in Sunbury, Hobson’s Bay, Werribee, Melton and Hume.
They have knowledge and wisdom and they share it freely. They know what Melbourne has to offer, they are the foundations of our industry’s culture of collaboration and co-operation. The concept of ‘paying it forward’ and ‘looking after the neighbours’ are well understood, yet we as an industry too often take their significant contribution for granted.
George Osborne, Economic Development Manager at Hume City Council shared a revealing statistic at the forum. Last year Hume City Council surveyed people who use their visitor information centre, 61% spent more in the local area than they had originally intended. This is a great story.
We know word of mouth is the biggest single influencer of visitor behaviour. Our VIC volunteers across the state play an integral role supporting the visitor experience, encouraging dispersal and yield within the destination, and in turn helping create jobs close to home.
This week is National Volunteer Week – the week that we as a country celebrate the contributions that volunteers make in nearly every walk of life. As an industry we are blessed to have so many good people prepared to give their time and expertise supporting us. How many other industries enjoy this level of support? Farming? Mining? Banking?
Australia’s largest service export earner – tourism – is underpinned by volunteers and community pride. This is a priceless endorsement of our industry – It is one we should never take for granted.
Let’s not confine our recognition of these wonderful people to one week – let’s make a conscious effort to acknowledge their contribution and celebrate the old and beautiful contradiction – It is better to give than receive.