Announced Oct. 24 by the Victorian State Government, a proposed expansion of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is a move meant to retain the venue’s mantle as Australia’s largest and busiest convention and exhibition centre.
According to officials, MCEC has had to turn away nearly 20 percent of new business opportunities due to lack of available space. The proposal expands the South Wharf precinct footprint to include new retail space, additional car parks, hotel accommodation and multi-purpose convention and exhibition facilities.
“The expansion business case has been in the pipeline with the Victorian State Government and stakeholders for some time and we are grateful for their support,” said Bob Annells trust chairman, MCEC. “We also thank our many supporters, including VECCI [Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry], who have been pushing this important project, which will significantly benefit the entire state.
“The investment supports the ongoing work MCEC conducts with the Melbourne Convention Bureau to attract business events to Victoria, which are worth around $1.2 billion each year and generate 22,600 jobs.”
MCEC Chief Executive Peter King commented that the expansion proposal is in response to the changing business events industry, customer expectations and worldwide competition.
“This highly anticipated announcement is huge news for the industry and Victoria and further strengthens our position as Australia’s number one business events destination,” King stated. “The expansion could include additional exhibition and banquet space, smaller meeting rooms, new plenary options and an exciting new indoor-outdoor networking and entertainment space.”
MCEC’s success has exceeded expectations following the Victorian State Government’s previous investment to build the new Convention Centre, which opened in 2009.
In the last 12 months, MCEC recorded its most successful year in history, hosting 1030 events with nearly 1.5 million visitors and generating more than $274 million for Victoria. The venue’s success is set to continue with record growth projected again this financial year.
The venue has hosted some of the world’s largest medical conferences including the World Diabetes Congress, World Congress of Cardiology and the 20th Internationals AIDS Conference.
The Victorian State Government will be working with Plenary and their partners to negotiate and finalize the proposed expansion master plan.