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Melbourne continues to position itself as a smart exhibition location

Melbourne Convention CenterThe Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB) has announced the establishment of a new marketing campaign, as well as a surplus of $1 billion for the Victorian economy, thanks to business events at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

Melbourne IQ: The Intelligent Choice for Conferences is aimed at the international associations market and is designed to promote Melbourne’s impressive expertise and track record in a diverse range of academic, scientific and professional endeavors.

Karen Bolinger, CEO of MCVB said the campaign highlights the state’s capabilities as an ‘Intellectual Capital’ and further cements Melbourne’s reputation as a world-class business events destination.

“Whereas we often attribute our success to the first class infrastructure we have in the city and the high level of support we receive from both state and local government, we may overlook that perhaps our greatest assets lie in our intellectual capabilities and industry strengths,” said Bolinger. “The state’s economy is driven by knowledge-based industries in education, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and design and the city is also recognized as a centre of excellence for research and development in the medical, science, business and financial industries.”

The first stage of the campaign is the release of a brochure that aims to reach out to MCVB’s key international markets in the form of associations, professional conference organisers (PCO’s), decision makers, board members, chief executive officers and academics, spanning the globe. Ultimately, Melbourne IQ will be a platform for a wide cross section of future marketing initiatives, including events, advertising and targeted publications.

“Having all of this intelligence here, makes Melbourne a natural and attractive choice for international associations who are looking to host their next conference in a city where they can maximize attendance, be close to emerging markets in Asia, and be able to draw delegates from a rich pool of local talent,” said Bolinger. “MCVB works closely with locally-based associations and the wider academic community, specifically through the Club Melbourne Ambassador Program, when working to attract a business event to Melbourne. Without the ongoing support of these key groups, winning high profile events, such as the XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), would not be possible.”

In addition to Melbourne’s ‘intelligent’ assets, the city’s business events infrastructure, economic stability, accessibility, safety and leisure attractions are also highlighted in the campaign.

“When it comes to conferences, congresses, meetings, incentives and corporate travel, Melbourne has just the right mix of ingredients to ensure that every business event is a resounding success,” said Bolinger.

The MCVB has also announced that in excess of AUD $1 billion worth of economic benefit has been generated for the state of Victoria, as a result of international business events secured by the MCVB for the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

“A total of 123 business events have been secured for the MCEC, generating an estimated 203,250 delegates, equating to approximately 1,029,900 MCEC delegate days, 778,021 room nights in Melbourne hotels, and a forecasted $567,369,613 in delegate expenditure,” said Bolinger.

Approximately 39 of these events have already been held and the remainder will occur over the next seven years.

“In 2009, the MCEC was officially opened, significantly enhancing Melbourne’s capacity to host major business events and compete with leading business events cities from around the globe,” said Bolinger. “The world’s first ‘Six Star Green Star’ environmentally-rated convention centre and the largest convention centre in the Southern Hemisphere, the MCEC offers world-class facilities, including a 5500+ seat plenary hall and 30,000 square metres of pillar-less exhibition space.”

Australia has received worldwide recognition for its convention and exhibition facilities and has been successful in attracting millions of delegates over the last two decades.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures, Australia welcomed 171,400 convention or conference arrivals during the year ending December 2011. This compares to 4,280 for the year ending December 1991, equivalent to a 3,904 percent increase over 20 years.

Melbourne contributed significantly to this growth and will continue to do so, having secured a number of international association events, including The World Diabetes Congress 2013, the World Congress of Cardiology 2014 and the XX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014).

“Melbourne competes on the world stage in terms of securing high profile, international events that bring large numbers of new visitors to the region, delivering a significant economic impact to the state,” said Bolinger. “Holding business events in Melbourne creates new and repeat visitors, attracts accompanying persons, drives regional tourism and generates economic wealth and export opportunities.”

Perhaps one of the largest business events held in Melbourne, the Asia Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) is celebrating 20 years of success in Melbourne, Australia.

“This is a significant achievement and one that we are extremely proud of, especially as we are the only convention and visitors bureau in the world to own such an event,” said Bolinger. “Exhibitors, Hosted Buyers, media and visitors alike have been coming to. For two decades, Melbourne has participated in AIME, for what has been the industry’s ‘must attend’ event since its inception.”

Originally known as The AustralAsian International Meetings Expo, AIME had its humble beginnings at Melbourne’s World Trade Centre in March 1993. Attracting around 200 exhibitors and approximately 1,000 visitors, including more than 300 companies from every state in Australia and organizations from 11 countries, the event fought off three competing regional events to become the first truly international expo for the meetings industry in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) took over the show’s management in 2002, AIME has seen more than 7,800 exhibitors attend from more than 50 countries, hosting close to 28,000 visitors, as well as over 4,000 Hosted Buyers.

“We thank RTE for their commitment and support over the past 10 years and acknowledge their considerable role in continuing to grow AIME into the world-class expo it is today,” said Bolinger. “Most significantly we recognize Qantas and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre as supporters and sponsors of the show for its 20-year history. The backing of these organizations has ensured the event’s longevity and success.”

The success of AIME in recent years saw the event inducted into the national Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) Hall of Fame in 2011 after being awarded ‘Exhibition of the Year’ for the third consecutive year, a testament to the outstanding reputation the event has achieved.

The 2012 show will see more than 780 exhibitors and 515 Hosted buyers in attendance, with visitor numbers expected to reach 3,400.

“This year’s program of guest speakers, master classes and networking opportunities promises to surpass expectations met in previous years as we deliver an unforgettable experience for everyone involved,” said Bolinger.

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