Past Programs

Showcasing past programs supporting the visitor economy in Melbourne’s west

A curated selection of past programs

All programs developed and delivered by Western Melbourne Tourism to support the visitor economy in Melbourne’s west.

Hanging Local

Hanging Local was a program initiated and developed by Western Melbourne Tourism in partnership with the Get Lost Travel Group and Victoria University. Launched in 2019, the program provided the opportunity for international students to uncover the tourism hotspots of Melbourne’s West.   

The program was designed in series of ‘experience modules’ at different destinations including the Organ Pipes National Park, local beaches, Williamstown Botanic Garden, the Dingo Discovery and Research Centre, Footscray Market and Werribee Open Range Zoo. It incorporated a mix of immersive experiences including nature walks, conservation tours, photography workshops as well as evening events, and food and bar hops alongside fellow local students. Students were also given the opportunity to learn Aussie Rules at the VU Whitten Oval with the AFL’s Western Bulldogs.  

It was a fantastic opportunity for students to get out and about in groups, exploring their local neighbourhoods, making new friends, and feeling more at home in Melbourne’s West. In turn, this helped generate further travel,  as students became ambassadors for the region, hosting other visiting friends and family. 

The Hanging Local program was made possible with the support of a Victorian Government’s International Student Welfare Program funding grant through Study Melbourne.  

Watch a video about the program: 

Hanging Local Experiences

Below are a selection of Hanging Local Experiences that were offered across Melbourne’s West as part of the program:  

IFly and Maribyrnong Inflatable Regatta
Hanging Local at Footscray Market
Aussie Rules with the Western Bulldogs 
Beach Fun Williamstown
Beach Fun Williamstown
Organ Pipes and Dingos

Hanging Local Gallery

Unfortunately this program was not fully delivered and interrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic from early 2020.  

In response to the Covid 19 pandemic the Hanging Local program was adapted with an alternate version of the program known as Hanging Local Virtual.   

Hanging Local moved online and students were given the opportunity to show off their cooking skills in Chef versus Student.       

In the series students cooked alongside renowned chefs from some of the best restaurants in Melbourne’s West, competing alongside fellow students.  The program was a huge success with each episode booked out!   

Unique national cuisines (Indian, Greek, and Japan/Korean), were featured across three episodes, taking students on a culinary journey around the world.  Hosted by renowned comedians Alex Ward, Angus Brown and Lauren Bok, friends and family of the students all participated live as well.  

Students registered and participated in one of three ways: 

  • Competing & Cooking: Being in the spotlight by cooking on screen with the host chef and competing with two/three other students. 
  • Cooking & Learning: With instructions and ingredients supplied students cooked as an audience member at home. (The first thirty students to register received free ingredient packs delivered at home)   
  • Audience member: Other students just joined us for the laughs and watched live on the day as student peers cooked along. Everyone watching was able to vote/like a favourite chef and the photos of the best dish competition submitted (featured on the VU Sstudent Life Facebook).   Some great prizes were won.  

Event details  
Episode One: Taste of India 
Host Chef: Sumit Malthotra – Aangan Indian Restaurant, West Footscray  
Signature Dish: Indian Chicken curry  
Host / Compare: Lauren Bok  

Our Head Chef, Sumit Malhotra from Aangan
Our comedian host, Lauren Bok

Event details  
Episode Two: Journey to Greece
Host Chef: Alec Xinis – Almost Like Yiayias, West Melbourne  
Signature Dish: Marinated calamari with fava and a brown butter and caper sauce. 
Host / Compare: Angus Brown

Our head chef, Alex Xinis from Almost Like Yiayias
Our comedian host, Angus Brown

Event details  
Episode Three: Off to Eastern Asia
Host Chef: Jack Lee – Bean Smuggler, West Melbourne  
Signature Dish: Spiced Duck Breast with Miso Couscous, Grilled Cos Lettuce and Gochujang Dressing.
Host / Compare: Alex Ward

Our head chef, Jack Lee from Bean Smuggler
Our commedian host, Alex Ward

A further version of the Hanging Local program (adapted because of the pandemic) was Hanging Local Scavenger. This program was designed to facilitate further opportunities for international students to hang out in Melbourne’s West.  

Hanging Local’s interactive scavenger hunts explored some of the best-known landmarks, restaurants and hidden gems in Melbourne’s West.  Students working in teams or groups of friends solved puzzles, nutted out local trivia and took photos at the photo checkpoints to unlock prizes (including a free lunch!). The goal of these events was all about having fun, meeting new friends and finding great new local spots outdoors in a very Covid- friendly way. 

Three scavenger events were designed and planned: Footscray, Sunshine and Werribee. Unfortunately, with the challenges of Covid only one event at Footscray was able to proceed. 

Tourism Fest in the West

The Tourism Fest in the West  was a series of major regional tourism industry events for Melbourne‘s West. These gatherings brought together tourism industry operators and other stakeholders for a day of networking and professional development.

The inaugural Tourism Fest in the West held in February 2014 at the The Rocks in Williamstown with an even grander follow up event held in May 2015 at the Sun Theatre, Yarraville

The 2016  Tourism Fest in the West took place on 29 February at Eynesbury Homestead, Eynesbury (near Melton).

In 2017 we took the move to  Digital Fest in the West  – a new and innovative learning program designed specifically for tourism operators across Melbourne’s West, to complete online.

See some highlights here:

See some highlights here:

Tourism Fest in the West 2015 – The Wrap 

Sun Theatre, Yarraville

Tourism Fest in the West 2014

The Rocks, Williamstown 

The inaugural Tourism Fest in the West held on February 2014 was a great day of networking and professional development for the tourism industry.   

Conversations on Recovery

Hosted by Western Melbourne Tourism in partnership with the School for the Visitor Economy at Victoria University, Conversations on Recovery was a forum series to provide information and connection to help support the recovery of the visitor economy of Melbourne’s west through the pandemic.

Each of the forums were scheduled to run for one hour, featured a guest speaker were hosted on Zoom. Q and A followed.

Conversations on Recovery # 1
October 28, 2021
The impacts of Covid 19 on the regional economy and pathway to recovery
Presenter: Karl Flowers, Managing Director, Decisive Consulting

Conversations on Recovery # 2
December 2,2021
Werribee Open Range Zoo Masterplan – Much more than animals two by two
Presenter: Glenn Holland, Director Werribee Open Range Zoo

Digital Fest in the West

The Digital Fest in the West was an innovative learning program designed specifically for tourism operators across Melbourne’s West. This program was designed to support local operators in our region achieve cut through in tourism digital marketing efforts.

With a focus on learning in real time, this practical and ‘hands on’ learning program was customised to build the capacity of local tourism businesses in our region, to enhance networks between local operators, and to foster collaboration online across Melbourne’s West. This program was developed and facilitated in partnership with the Tourism eSchool.

The program was delivered across four modules with a mix of ‘hands on’ in person learning and direction and webinar sessions on- line.

Mentoring support for the length of the program was available to all participants via a private Facebook Group. The 25 participants were encouraged to use this space to submit questions to the program facilitators, and to work with one another to further their learning, and to network with other participants.

To learn more about the program delivery and meet the facilitators Rebecca and Paige, please view this video:

Modules covered core tourism marketing topics including

  • Concept Introduction
  • Strategy Alignment
  • ‘How to’ Knowledge + Training
  • Case Studies
  • Action Orientated Tasks
  • Q&A

Tourism Marketing Trends, Content Marketing Strategy + Product Experience
Content Marketing Strategy

Social Media Strategy

Strategic Storytelling

Customer advocacy + Online Reputation Management
Location Based Marketing
Website and Conversion Optimisation

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