The 21st edition of Experience Culture Victoria – the State’s definitive guide to art and culture – highlights the immense depth and quality of cultural experiences on offer right across the State.

Experience Culture Victoria 2017/18 comes hot on the heels of recent studies highlighting the importance of Victoria’s cultural tourism industry.

The Boston Consulting Group’s Melbourne as a Global Destination report released in June this year reinforced Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s cultural capital, ranking it the top cultural destination in the country, third in the Asia Pacific and twelfth in the world for arts and culture.

This year the guide highlights the remarkable renaissance of many of Melbourne and the region’s public spaces with a metamorphosis of street art from underground activism to celebrated public art form.

Private and public places around the State are being transformed with striking and everchanging art. From the world-famous laneways of Melbourne’s CBD to regional centres of Bendigo, Geelong and Shepparton – and out to the Wimmera Mallee with its celebrated silo art – the form has never been more prolific.

Launching Experience Culture Victoria 2017/18, Cultural Tourism Victoria Chair Kathryn Mackenzie said the guide highlighted more than 170 creative places, spaces and cultural experiences on offer around the State.

“Melbourne has long been recognised as Australia’s creative and cultural capital. It seems a natural evolution that so many of our streets, laneways and public spaces are being transformed. However this transformation is also taking place right across the State and we are being recognised for not only the quality of our regional galleries and theatres but also our strikingly bold street art culture,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“We are openly embracing this form of artistic expression as artists take to the streets, buildings and silos to dramatically transform private and public spaces into breathtaking pieces of art.

“This really is a most exciting time for art and culture in our State. We encourage residents and visitors to wander Victoria and uncover cities, towns and villages all teeming with galleries, studios, theatres, events and their own rich stories and connections to the cultural landscapes that make this such a creative State.”

The guide has been produced in collaboration with five Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP) councils – Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra – as well as regional councils, tourism boards, public and private venues and organisations.

The guide includes key cultural attractions found in Melbourne – from established destinations in the CBD such as the State Library, to an Aboriginal history walk in Yarra, a tapestry workshop in Port Phillip, jazz festival in Stonnington and women’s circus in Maribyrnong.

Creative Victoria estimates in the year to June 2016, Victoria played host to 1.6 million international cultural visitors, with cultural visitors representing 64 per cent of all international visitors to the State.

Cr Jami Klisaris, Mayor of the City of Stonnington, said “Experience Culture Victoria is now the most comprehensive guide to all things cultural across Inner Melbourne and out into the regions.”

“We had a great response to our participation last year and are looking forward to even more visitors exploring our wonderful inner Melbourne arts attractions after learning about them in the Guide.”

The Guide is distributed across Victoria at visitor information centres, attractions and transport hubs and by select accommodation providers. About 60,000 copies will be printed this year and a digital edition is available at culturaltourismvictoria.com.au