What’s on the Horizon for Victoria’s Visitor Economy? A Reflection on 2023 VTIC Summit

By Emanuel Limbongan – 2023 YTN Committee member

One thing I loved about the 2023 VTIC Vision Summit is the way this summit provides a vision not only for the years ahead but also reflects on our resilience in the years that have passed (I mean, the food was good as well).

It all starts on a cold Melbourne morning breeze that complements the hot cup of tea and coffee before a warm welcome. The sound of the didgeridoo feels like a welcoming gate as Uncle Murrundindi plays. Goosebumps arise, and I feel truly connected with this land, not to mention how grateful I am. The day begins with an overview of our challenges and opportunities. The key is through proper action, we can leave a legacy and foster growth, especially in tourism infrastructure. Many questions come to mind, starting with these challenges and how they manifest. How can we cope, especially with new trends and shifting tourism behaviour? Also, what will be my takeaway when I leave this summit today?

Time passes, from one keynote speaker to another, not to mention the countless questions from the audience. I knew this summit would be extraordinary, and with a mix of tension and curiosity, I was proven right. Rob Dougan, EGM Strategy & Research at Tourism Australia, kicks off our summit with essential graphics on our recovery journey, which looks quite promising. The future of demand seems to strongly recover by 2025, and stakeholders should work together to ensure its realisation.

Narrowing down from the national to the regional level (yes, we love Victoria!). Shae Keenan, Chief Marketing Officer, and Anthony Ilott, Acting Director of Corporate Relations, share Victoria’s Tourism Recovery Process and what’s needed to position the state for success. I admire how storytelling is used to attract visitors through the funnelling process, and I would love to quote Shae’s proposal: “Knowing where we are is essential, but it’s also important to know where we are heading.” A great insight just before lunch.

I was captivated by the vision of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. Focusing on celebrating more of regional Victoria and honouring the First Peoples.

After lunch, I was captivated by the vision of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. Focusing on celebrating more of regional Victoria and honouring the First Peoples, I hope this project unfolds smoothly; and in my opinion, excellent sustainable planning for this event will elevate its magnitude. The summit continues with positive insights from the aviation sector, tourism driving forces, critical macro trends impacting the travel industry, and engaging panel discussions.

As the day comes to an end, this summit delves into many crucial topics, yet four themes remain resonating within its essence. These topics include indigenous culture and their involvement in tourism, accessible tourism, sustainability and regeneration, and the emergence of digital nomads as a new travel trend. I would like to express my gratitude to the Young Tourism Network for this opportunity and the honor of representing such a great organization. The VTIC 2023 Vision Summit has been an exceptional experience for me.

To conclude, I would like to quote Rob Dougan’s point: “The future of tourism is bright but will be hard fought.” Whatever comes our way, I firmly believe it is always for the better.