By CHARLENE MACAULAY
COUNCILS across the West want to make the region the next big tourist attraction.
Western Melbourne Tourism, a regional cooperative funded with support from the Maribyrnong, Hobsons Bay, Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank and Moonee Valley councils, will host a day-long forum next week in a bid to promote the West as a whole.
Tourism Fest in the West will include keynote speakers Western Melbourne Tourism Patron Steve Bracks, destination marketing guru Simon McArthur, Professor Alison Morrison from Victoria University, as well as a range of other tourism industry leaders.
“There is much about the West side of Melbourne that is rapidly changing and many Melburnians and visitors from further afield are appreciating more and more what the West has to offer,” Mr Bracks said.
“New food, new cultural communities, new arts venues and events – there is a lot to love about Melbourne’s West.
“There is a new awakening and the region needs to prepare and market itself for increasing numbers of visitors.”
Western Melbourne Tourism Executive Officer Richard Ponsford said the demographic of the West had rapidly changed, which has in turn changed the vibe and opportunities in the West.
“There’s a lot more people visiting the West. It’s a whole-sector opportunity and we want to capture that and let everyone know in the tourism industry what’s happening in the West,” Mr Ponsford said.
“The traditional perception of the West is very industrial, flat and boring, but it’s actually full of change and new things. The whole image and brand of the West needs to be re-shaped.
“From a tourism promotion point of view, it’s about capturing all the stuff that’s happening and making it really accessible for people, such as maps and event lists and all that sort of stuff.”
Tourism Fest in the West will be held on 18 February. For more information and to book, go to www.trybooking.com/71672