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Mice Net : February 2009
melbourne what recession? story By Graeme Kemlo Melbourne is bullish. on top of a solid 2008, the city is gearing up for a strong 2009. international events business has not been affected by any global financial meltdown. As Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) chief executive Leigh Harry reports, “there have been no cancellations, and as international conventions are long lead time business and traditionally not impacted by economic cycles significantly, we’re not anticipating any”. Meanwhile, Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB) chief executive Sandra Chipchase has also confirmed no cancellations. As further evidence of its strong predictions for business growth, Ms Chipchase reports that in 2008 the bureau won more business than ever in its 40 year history. Australia’s first convention and visitors bureau, MCVB bid for and won business events she says will deliver more than 70,000 delegates worth $261 million to Melbourne and Victoria. Clearly the new convention centre is a big drawcard. With its first bookings pencilled in for July, at last count the centre had 44 international meetings confirmed, bringing in an estimated 86,050 delegates. On top of that there’s another 111 national meetings. In anticipation of a bumper year, the centre is already brimming with statistics: 32 meeting rooms, 5000 seat plenary, 30,000 square metres of clear floor space, ground level foyer for 8400 guests featuring a soaring 18 metre glass Yarra façade. Success has come early in the form of the high profile medical I n mid-2009 Melbourne will unveil the new jewel in its meetings crown while multi-millions are being spent on other meetings and events infrastructure. Good news then that to date its and scientific events Melbourne seeks: 2010 Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy Congress (AOEC) - 2000 delegates; 2011 World Congress of the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (WSPID) - 3000 delegates; 2012 Asian and Oceanian Congress of the World Federation of Neurology - 1500 delegates; 2012 World General Assembly of the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI) - 1000 delegates; 2013 International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP) – 1000 delegates; 2014 15th Biennial Meeting of International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) – 2000 delegates. While Leigh Harry is realistic enough to add, “it would be reasonable to expect that there may be some impact on delegate numbers in the short term depending on how long the current situation is perceived to last”, Melbourne’s business events sector is ready to ‘party like its 1999 er, 2009’. More than $1.4 billion is being spent to renew a largely-neglected stretch of the Yarra, with MCEC at the heart of the project, spawning a raft of new infrastructure including the adjacent Hilton South Wharf hotel, dining, retail, office and accommodation. Not only is the Hilton South Wharf physically linked to the MCEC, it is also linked through its South Wharf Meetings and Events partnership, where users can book their small to medium-sized event at the centre via Hilton’s simple one-step booking process. The 396-room, 26 suite hotel is not due to open until June 2009, but is expected to have 32 spacious apartments available for eager AIME attendees. Rooms are a generous 38 square metres overlooking the convention centre and up the Yarra River, or across mice.net 145