LATE night trading in Melbourne's central shopping precinct will add life and vibrancy to the CBD, encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more, according to peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle last week announced that from 22 April, all retailers in and around Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne Central, Melbourne's GPO and the new Emporium Melbourne will trade until at least 7pm every night.
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the move will build on Melbourne's great reputation as a vibrant global city.
"Late-night retail will be great for tourists and great for the economy," Mr Morrison said, adding that a more vibrant CBD in the evening will mean visitors stay longer and spend more.
"Our cities are major drawcards for international visitors and it's vital that Melbourne has an energetic night-time economy which offers visitors a range of entertainment, dining and retail options.
"Tourism contributes $15.9 billion to the Victorian economy, provides 204,000 jobs and is the state's second largest export. A dynamic, late-night city will increase tourism's contribution to the state and help Victoria reach its goal of growing overnight tourism expenditure to $24.7 billion by 2020."
The announcement coincided with new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that showed Melbourne's CBD population has more than doubled in the past nine years from 12,700 to 29,300, with 5,400 new residents moving in over the past year alone.
"New measures, like late-night retail, will help support this growing inner city population by providing more services beyond traditional hours as well as spreading out public transport demand beyond peak hour," Mr Morrison said.
"Late-night trading will improve the CBD atmosphere into the evening, encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more during their visit."