Victorians celebrate as the Cup returns to full capacity

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Melburnians were out and about celebrating the Melbourne Cup as the race that stops the nation returned to full capacity for the first time since 2019, new spend insight from NAB shows.

The insights – provided by Australia’s largest business bank – show during the first four days of the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival, Victorians spent an estimated $97 million at bars, pubs and restaurants – up 34% on the same period a week earlier.

In Melbourne, spend at bars and pubs on Melbourne Cup race day was up a whopping 115%, with the number of transactions also up 135%.

Visitors to the city were also making use of the many tourist attractions around Melbourne, with spend up 21% and the number of transactions also up by 27% – a much needed boost for a city hit hard by the pandemic.

NAB Executive for Small Business, Ana Marinkovic said Melbournians love a celebration with Australia’s most famous horse race a great reason to do so.

“It’s fantastic to see the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival welcome back thousands of punters and fashionistas for the first time since 2019. It’s also great news for businesses across Melbourne as locals and tourists flock to the city to enjoy the racing events at pubs, restaurants and outdoor spaces,” Ms Marinkovic said.

Paul DiMattina – owner of South Melbourne pub, Lamaro’s.

“Big events are back, and as we head into the warmer months it will be great to see more tourists return to Australia’s sporting and arts capital – supporting local businesses across the city and wider state.”

Paul DiMattina, owner of South Melbourne pub Lamaro’s, ensured he had extra staff on to keep up with customer demand.

“Trade around big sporting events such as the AFL and Melbourne Cup is always strong, and this Melbourne Cup race day was like no other,” Mr DiMattina said.

“We haven’t really seen a pullback in spending in reaction to interest rates and inflation yet. There’s still strong appetite for big events and social catch ups as they provide opportunities for us to get out of the house and connect with friends and families – something we couldn’t do for the better part of two years.”

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