Conversations on Recovery

Conversations on Recovery is an online forum series brought to you by Western Melbourne Tourism Inc and Victoria University’s School for the Visitor Economy (SVE).

The forums are aimed at local stakeholders with an interest in the recovery of the visitor economy in Melbourne’s west.

The forums run for an hour, with an expert presenter followed by some Q and A.

It is free to participate and each forum is delivered via Zoom.

Registration details for forums will be updated on this page.


Conversation #2: Werribee Open Range Zoo Masterplan – Much More Than Animals Two by Two

Wednesday 2 December 12-1pm AEDT

Conversation #2: Werribee Open Range Zoo Masterplan – Much More Than Animals Two by Two was the second forum in this series.

It is incredibly exciting news for our region that Zoos Victoria has attracted $84 million of funding from the Victorian State government for the new Masterplan Redevelopment for the Werribee Open Range Zoo. This is a significant boost to the economic recovery of our region.

With the project funding now secured, Zoos Victoria is embarking on completing the design, obtaining relevant approval and commencing the building of what will be a ‘jewel of the west’ for the region’s visitor economy.

This forum provided insights and an outline of the key elements of the project. Our keynote speaker was Glen Holland, Director Werribee Open Range Zoo.

At the conclusion of his presentation, Glen was joined in a panel discussion with Cathy Nixon – Visitor Experience General Manager and Stephen Peppard – Business Development Manager Tourism. 

Download the Conversation #2: Werribee Open Range Zoo Masterplan – Much More Than Animals Two by Two slide deck


Conversation #1: Economically Speaking, A Pathway to Recovery

Wednesday 28 October 12-1pm AEDT

Conversation #1: Economically Speaking, A Pathway to Recovery was the opening forum in the series, presented by Karl Flowers from Decisive Consulting.

Karl is a leading tourism economist who has spent the last six months forecasting the path of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly 20 Australian and overseas destinations. He was previously Chief Economist at Tourism Australia and Director Investment in the Commonwealth Department of Tourism. In June 2020 he completed a review of the forecast recovery of Melbourne’s West tourism region and its six local government areas from COVID-19 under two scenarios.

His review identified the types of visitation forecast to recover fastest and those facing a steeper and more enduring decline in activity and how tourism sub-sectors can expect to fare in the recovery phase.

A core finding of this research is that the characteristics of tourism pre-virus to an area have a major impact on its expected path of recovery and that the downturn can be nearly twice as large in the most affected compared to the least affected Victorian regions.

Karl’s research recognises an unprecedented threat to the survival of many businesses in 2020/21 as JobKeeper and other emergency support is withdrawn and a range of initiatives important for Governments to assist the recovery of these tourism businesses.

Karl also offered constructive information and recommendations on how Melbourne’s West can accelerate recovery.

Download the Conversation #1: Economically Speaking, A Pathway to Recovery slide deck

Watch the replay of Conversation #1: Economically Speaking, A Pathway to Recovery