Melbourne MCEC to grow along with Sydney’s new facility

Melbourne MCEC to grow along with Sydney's new facility
As we noted above, all the main cities in Australia and indeed some important second tier destinations are investing in new sports, arts and particularly business – exhibition and conference – facilities. In Sydney, Sydney Olympic Park and the RAS is impressively building its capacity; the interim exhibition and conference centre at Glebe Island is going well and a number of companies have opened new meetings facilities, stand-alone, such as Dockside’s Pavilion, at new permanent locations and at hotels. And the new International Conference and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour, under construction, is marketing furiously. Brisbane is in a flush period with a number of recent arts and cultural events, as well as the imminent focus of the G20.  Adelaide and Perth are capturing new clients for  their venues.

Now, finally, after much campaigning and industry agitation, the Victorian Government has agreed to support an expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
The State Government has entered negotiations with a private contractor to expand the facility by up to 30% into the carpark area at DFO South Wharf. MCEC has been operating at near full capacity for more than 18 months and has largely committed its space for the next two years. The proposed expansion would see the South Wharf precinct footprint grow to include multi-purpose convention, exhibition and banqueting facilities, as well as hotel accommodation and new retail space, possibly including additional smaller meeting rooms, new plenary options and a new indoor-outdoor networking and entertainment space.

Melbourne has been named Australasia’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination for the second year at the 21st Annual World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia ceremony, held in Delhi, India, with MCEC also taking out the title of Australasia’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre for the third consecutive year. This follows Melbourne Convention Bureau’s recent success in securing some of the world’s largest and most prestigious health-related conferences including the 22nd World Diabetes Congress, the World Congress of Cardiology and the 20th International AIDS Conference. MCEC Chief Executive Peter King said the Centre had recently celebrated its most successful year on record, delivering “six of the world’s biggest and most prestigious conferences” in the last 12 months.
Victoria will host an unprecedented number of international sporting, arts, cultural and trade events between 9 January and 29 March 2015 as part of the 80 Days of Melbourne initiative. Some 50 global business leaders will be invited to attend events of their choice over the 80 days, with the aim of securing international investment and jobs for the state. 
The calendar includes the Opening Ceremony of the Asian Football Cup in January and the final of the cricket World Cup in March and sport, arts, business and culture events – some are existing events – such as the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, White Night, Avalon International Airshow and the Jean Gaultier Art Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Notable continuing events include Melbourne International Food and Wine Festival, the Australian F1 Grand Prix and the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Of course, the football and cricket are national events and we'll see the commensurate benefits in many cities.
Business events generate major economic benefits for Aussie cities, with vitally important business flows to companies. For Victoria, the amount is around $1.2 billion each year.
A report by Ernst and Young shows that Victoria’s major events contributed $1.8 billion to the economy this year, and attracted almost 300,000 interstate and international visitors. Tourism is Victoria’s most important industry, directly contributing more than $19.6 billion to the State’s economy each year and more than 200,000 jobs. 

Eric Winton

Director, New Millennium Business

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