St Kilda, activation or stagnation?

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By St Kilda Tourism

We’ve all heard the phrases and praises…“St Kilda is Melbourne’s most popular beachside playground; with an abundance of gourmet eateries and a popular nightlife scene….” but for how long? Can we ignore the decreasing visitor numbers to our beloved St Kilda? And does this affect us?

Yes St Kilda is Melbourne’s Beachside Playground and an iconic destination for locals, interstate and international visitors, and yes it is a key city fringe visitor destination that is nationally and internationally renowned.

St Kilda is Sydney’s Bondi and LA’s Venice Beach or even Santa Monica. But visitors are going elsewhere and spending their dollars. Numbers are decreasing.

According to Tourism Research Australia statistics, each year more than 1.3 million people visit St Kilda and we are the second most visited area, in the State of Victoria, by domestic and international overnight visitors to Melbourne.

Compared to other beachside city fringe destinations in Australia such as Bondi Beach and Manly, St Kilda is underperforming as a visitor destination.

Bondi Beach receives 5 million visitors each year, half of them being high yielding international visitors, Manly and the Northern Beaches attracts 8 million visitors. Overseas, the famous Venice Beach in California recorded 16 million visitors.

According to a recent report by the City of Port Phillip: “St Kilda’s role as a key cultural destination for our community, Melburnians and visitors has diminished over the past decade, with a noticeable decline in visitation numbers and overnight stays in the past four year” – (Port Phillip Council meeting minutes, 10th March 2015).

As a destination, St Kilda is losing market share. Other destinations go from strength to strength creating events across the year to build peaks and fill troughs; supporting industry with key training and development programs and opportunities, and importantly: servicing visitors.

Tourism makes an important and sizeable contribution to Victoria’s economy. It is a part of everybody’s business, which is why it is such an important industry for Victoria and for the residence of St Kilda.

Let’s look at it this way; with about 1.38 million visitors coming to St Kilda each year, spending $50 per person, that’s $69 million in annual revenue into St Kilda Businesses – in your pocket!

Tourism contributes $634 million in value to the local economy of the City of Port Phillip and St Kilda accounts for over 50% of its annual visitation to the municipality.

There are some great projects underway to get the numbers back to where they should be. The St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi is on the road, taking visitor information to visitors in the area. If you or your staff would like to volunteer at the Kombi please contact St Kilda Tourism on

Let’s work together to further grow and develop St Kilda and surrounds as Melbourne’s Beachside Playground and the iconic city fringe destination that it is.

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