Tourism is a strong economic driver in Victoria and cultural tourists – those whose primary reason for visiting is to attend or take part in cultural and creative activities – are a lucrative segment of the tourism market. On average, cultural tourists stay longer and spend more during a visit.

From a tourism perspective, recognition as a cultural city is not the only benefit. An active cultural scene also contributes to liveability and makes a city an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest.

To investigate Melbourne's status as a cultural destination and to explore ways to enhance and build the city's local, national and international cultural profile, Creative Victoria commissioned Boston Consulting Group to undertake a broad review of Melbourne's cultural offering to determine how it compares nationally and internationally. The research also sought to better understand the city's current and future cultural tourism markets and areas for growth.

The Melbourne as a Global Cultural Destination 2018 report found that Melbourne ranks as:

#1 Cultural destination in Australia

#3 Cultural destination in Asia Pacific

#12 Cultural destination worldwide.

The report also found that:

  • Outside of visiting family and friends, arts and culture are Melbourne's biggest tourism driver
  • Regional Victoria and New South Wales are currently the biggest source of cultural tourists to Melbourne
  • China is the city's biggest and fastest growing international market for cultural tourism and is expected to be worth $1-2 billion by 2025.

While Melbourne's diverse and compelling cultural offering ranks highly in a global context, the way it’s marketed and promoted is identified as a key area for improvement.

The report identifies five strategic priorities to increase Melbourne's position:

  1. Increase consumer awareness of Melbourne and improve the way cultural events and activities are marketed and promoted
  2. Protect existing infrastructure
  3. Optimise the current cultural offering
  4. Expand the cultural offer
  5. Enhance governance to improve collaboration between organisations and institutions.

Download the report