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Mice Net : August 2009
news the state of play Story by Jill innamorati-Varley Talk To markeT leaders in the business tourism industry about the financial state of the nation and you’ll find resilience and a confidence in the future that belies the daily headlines. opened on June 22. Flanked by this is the new five-star Hilton Melbourne South Wharf, while in close proximity, at Southbank, a $300 million, 658-room hotel of bold and futuristic design, the Crown Metropol, is set to open in early 2010. It does warrant the question, “hello, isn’t there an economic downturn, or does Melbourne know something we don’t?” Michael bourne, Hilton Melbourne South Wharf’s general manager, with more than 20 years in the hotel industry, says conditions will be testing when a significant amount of new rooms - “950 down our end of town” - hit the market in early 2010. “Lower demand and significant new supply is challenging for any industry, and while it is not ideal, we consider these trading conditions to be temporary,” he says. “the upside is that the new MCEC is expected to be a reliable volume driver, and longer term the additional room stock will assist in winning additional business for the city.” the Hilton also reports significant month on month growth since opening, and with the expectation that this trend will continue, Mr bourne said, “We have had an excellent response from the leisure market and now that the new MCEC is open the associated convention, exhibition and meetings business has started to flow. “We are also looking forward to the new South Wharf precinct being completed, as well as the new commercial buildings in Docklands (South Wharf is directly accessible to Docklands via a pedestrian L 6 mice.net et’s start with Melbourne where a six-star, green rated convention centre (the first in the world), the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) was officially bridge over the yarra).” With his eyes firmly on the future, Mr bourne predicts that 2010 will be a significantly better year than 2009. “In 2010 we will be in a position to capitalise on our efforts this year to promote the hotel and reach a wide audience, and by 2011 I expect to see strong growth.” Crown Melbourne’s chief executive officer, David Courtney was just as upbeat at the naming ceremony of the new Crown Metropol, saying that the development of the hotel demonstrates the confidence Crown has in the future of Melbourne as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. In addition, he declared, “It is an important and integral element of Melbourne’s long-term vision of being Australia’s leading conference and event city.” The Emerald City revving up the future in the Emerald City, a new annual celebration of Sydney’s distinctive lifestyle called, ‘Crave Sydney,’ has been announced in conjunction with the NSW Master Events Calendar. Produced by Events NSW on behalf of the NSW Government, it is being held from october 1 to 25, and includes a veritable cornucopia of events that should provide creative fodder for the C&I market. rachel Argaman, CEo of toga Hospitality, one of Australia’s largest accommodation providers, said of business today, “Whilst we are all challenged by the global financial crisis, it brings, like all challenges, opportunities to improve our business. opportunities to review the