The Australian business events industry is gearing up for next year’s AsiaPacific Incentives & Meetings Expo, AIME 09, determined to increase inbound business.
“We know many people around the world aspire to visit Australia. With the international release of the movie ‘Australia,’ Tourism Australia’s aligned marketing campaign, and the fall of the Australian dollar, we believe we are in a good position to attract even more business events,” said Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB).
AIME‘s acting event director, Elizabeth Sarian said that many of Australia’s convention bureaus will have larger stands and more co-exhibitors than previously.
“Australia’s presence at AIME will be stronger than ever with even more Australian product on show. Melbourne and Sydney have large areas with many co-exhibitors, and Tasmania, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, and Perth will all have more space than previously,” Ms. Sarian said.
According to Sandra Chipchase, Melbourne’s meetings infrastructure continues to grow with the new Melbourne Convention Centre to open in 2009, along with the adjoining Hilton Melbourne South Wharf and the third Crown hotel currently being constructed.
“Melbourne has a lot of new product on offer that will appeal to meetings and incentive planners, from the new convention center, to new hotels and new attractions such as the Southern Star observation wheel, the third-largest observation wheel in the world,” Ms. Chipchase said.
More new projects are taking shape to the north of Australia. The Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC) will open in July 2009. Funded by a $29 million Queensland state government grant, the center is the newest player in premier convention and banqueting facilities in Queensland. The center includes two plenary halls, a 1090-seat theatre, 100-seat studio space, bars, breakout rooms, and extensive front-of-house and backstage facilities.
Moving further north, the Australian-owned Toga Hospitality will showcase its two new hotels in Darwin: Medina Grand Darwin Waterfront and Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront, which are scheduled to open in February. Both hotels are located next door to the newly-opened Darwin Convention Centre.
Business Events Sydney (BES), formerly Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau, has significantly increased its space at AIME and will be using the exhibition as a platform to introduce a number of new services and tools for event planners.
More than 40 co-exhibitors from Sydney and New South Wales will strengthen the state’s push to win more business events. BES will launch its new Event Planners Guide 2009 and its new website featuring new search and request for proposal (RFP) functionality. Co-exhibitors will include Emirates Wolgan Valley 5-star resort, Bellachara Boutique resort, Star City, Sydney Olympic Park, the new Pullman 5-star hotel by Accor, Centennial Parklands, Starwood Hotels, York Fairmont Resort in the Blue Mountains, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, City of Sydney Venues, and the Dockside Group.
The Perth Convention Bureau plans to launch its new business events brand at AIME 09. Following a significant injection of government funding, the bureau has engaged marketing agency Marketforce to develop a business events brand for western Australia to promote and position western Australia’s unique selling propositions as a national and international business events destination.
AIME will be at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Australia on February 17 & 18, 2009. For further information visit: www.aime.com.au .