Media releases

More city businesses set up shop to boost trade

10 August 2023

More Melbourne businesses are choosing to enhance their retail and hospitality offerings, with new data revealing permit approvals for upgrades have nearly doubled in the past year.

The City of Melbourne’s latest Melbourne Economy Snapshot shows more than 50 businesses applied to upgrade their premises in May 2023 – up almost 90 per cent on the 27 applications at the same time last year, and trending towards pre-pandemic levels.

The latest Snapshot also indicates reinvigorated confidence in Melbourne’s tourism sector, with more than 10,000 additional hotel rooms becoming available in the City of Melbourne in the past four years.

Hotel bookings are up 23 per cent on pre-pandemic levels, but supply continues to exceed demand. In May, more than 18,000 hotel rooms were booked compared to 15,000 in 2019.

Activity in the city has steadily increased throughout 2023, with the Snapshot revealing the colder winter months have not deterred visitation.

Night-time events and activations are proving a popular drawcard for visitors, with a 24 per cent increase in night-time activity across the city during key June events such as RISING and the Queen Victoria Market Winter Night Market.

Spending in the city is continuing to grow – led by the tourism and entertainment sectors. Some parts of the economy have been slower to recover, including personal services such as hairdressers and beauty businesses which have seen a 5 per cent decline in spending compared to 2019.

The Melbourne Economy Snapshot aims to arm city traders with data and insights to better inform business decisions. Businesses can subscribe to City of Melbourne’s Business in Melbourne e-newsletter to receive the quarterly Snapshot.

To view the latest Melbourne Economy Snapshot, visit City of Melbourne.

Quotes attributable to Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece

“The Melbourne economy is going through a period of extraordinary transition as new work and transport patterns result in significant changes in consumer spending patterns.”

“These latest results provide plenty of cause for optimism with record new business start-ups showing there are green shoots everywhere across the city, while the surge in hotel bookings reflects Melbourne’s new status as Australia’s most popular tourism destination.”

“While it’s pleasing to see these key economic indicators trending upwards, we know there are some ongoing challenges facing the city’s economy – which is why we’re doing everything we can to back our small businesses.”

“Through initiatives such as Invest Melbourne and our Business Concierge service, we’re making it easier to do business by cutting red tape and attracting new investment to boost confidence in our city.”

“The Melbourne Economy Snapshot is designed to give city traders the data and insights they need to take their businesses to the next level, and it’s proving incredibly successful.”

“Since its launch, hundreds and hundreds of businesses have accessed the tool – a clear sign our traders are keen to embrace the city’s new rhythm.”

Quotes attributable to City Activation portfolio lead Councillor Roshena Campbell

“The latest Melbourne Economy Snapshot shows a renewed sense of confidence from Melbourne businesses with more choosing to invest in upgrading their city premises.”

“City visitation and tourism boomed during the last quarter, driven by our diverse offering of winter events and activations in the city – designed to attract more people in.”

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10 August 2023

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