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Melbourne cements its name as Australia’s business events capital

New figures released at EIBTM which starts today in Barcelona show that Melbourne has cemented its name as Australia’s business events capital. From July to November 2007 alone, 21 business events have been secured for the city injecting more than AUD$100 million into the State economy.

Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, says that success is indicative of Melbourne’s diverse range of venues and its expertise in holding major events.

“Melbourne is a purpose built convention and event destination with all of its major venues and accommodation centrally located and easily accessible. According to a recent Union of International Association (UIA) report, Melbourne is now the leader in delivering international conventions in the Australia/Oceania region.”

Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre chief executive Leigh Harry says Melbourne’s infrastructure also plays a vital part in the city’s success.

“With the Government’s investment of $370 million into a new convention centre, Melbourne now has the capacity to bid for significant international business events.”

The centre will be one of the most impressive architectural and environmental buildings in Australia and the country’s largest combined convention and exhibition facility. Opening for business in 2009, there are already 17 major international conventions booked, bringing 42,000 delegates to the city and investing more than AUD$285 million to the State of Victoria.

But, Harry says, Melbourne doesn’t just succeed on the infrastructure alone.

“A big draw card for Melbourne in securing large science and medical conventions is its own capabilities in this area. Melbourne is Australia’s number one location for biotechnology and has the largest concentration of medical research institutes in Australia. It’s also home to Australia’s only synchrotron which will transform Australia’s scientific and industrial research capability.”

In order to maintain its position as Australia’s business events capital, the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre and the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau launched the Club Melbourne Ambassadors program.

Starting with just 20 members in 2005, it now boasts 80 of the intellectual leaders in the science, medical and research fraternities in Victoria.

Members include the likes of former Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Doherty, member of the UN General Assembly and founder of the first drug for type two diabetes Professor Paul Zimmet; and the creator of the first intelligent software agent to fly a space mission on NASA’s space shuttle Professor Michael Georgeff.

A strong list of women are represented too, including one of Australia’s most influential scientists and 2007 Australian Thinker of the Year, Professor Jenny Graves, former Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria Professor Adrienne Clarke and Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) centre for mental health Professor Helen Herrman.

Ambassadors alone were involved in helping to secure nine of the 17 conventions secured for the new Melbourne Convention Centre contributing $210 million to the State economy.