Of the 350 tourism industry people surveyed, 45 per cent nominated Melbourne as the city with the best strategies to meet the future needs of the industry, with Sydney and Brisbane trailing far behind.
Tony Charters, the convenor of next month's Tourism and Events Excellence conference at the MCG in Melbourne, says the Roy Morgan research should be a massive wake-up call.
"Melbourne was seen as the powerhouse of the future with Sydney way back on 13 per cent and Brisbane just a pathetic four per cent, Adelaide one step away on three per cent, and Darwin and Perth on two per cent," Mr Charters said.
"The results don't say a lot for how the industry itself perceives Brisbane, and also Sydney for that matter.
"We thought the result may have been biased by the sample being taken in Victoria but we checked back with Roy Morgan and there is not a discernible issue there - the figures are statistically valid."
Mr Charters said Brisbane has lost its way, has been living off the coat tails of destinations like the Gold and Sunshine Coasts far too long, and needs to stand on its own two feet.
He believes the river city needs to develop more attractions like the Gallery of Modern Art, which has been very effective in attracting large numbers of tourists and interstate visitors through its major exhibitions.
"For many years Queensland was seen as the leading tourism state and everyone was very satisfied that its desirability as a destination was sitting at the top of the pile, but over the last 10 years it's been on a continual downward slide.
"There's been a bit of complacency and other destinations have been working much harder - there's nothing like being the underdog to drive you and there's evidence of that coming through in these figures."
Mr Charters said it was important to remember that the survey asked which city was the best attuned to the future needs of the tourism industry.
"If the question was who has got the greatest attractions or who has the most appeal, you might get a slightly different answer.
"But the feeling is that Melbourne has worked out what tourism needs and is responding to the needs of the tourism industry, and that's the critical difference."
The Tourism and Events Excellence conference will be held at the MCG from September 5.
Source: The Age Domain