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Melbourne`s business tourism industry celebrates

Melbourne`s business tourism industry gathered at a gala luncheon to celebrate 30 years of the successful promotion of Melbourne as Australia`s premier business events destination. The event, organised by Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB), applauded the…

Melbourne`s business tourism industry gathered at a gala luncheon to celebrate 30 years of the successful promotion of Melbourne as Australia`s premier business events destination. The event, organised by Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB), applauded the achievements of the $1.2 billion dollar industry and its collective efforts to put Melbourne firmly on the map as a world-leading convention city.

The Hon Tim Holding MP Minister for Tourism and Major Events acknowledged the spirit and creativity of Melburnians and thanked key figures in the business events industry from the past and the present including previous Tourism Ministers, and MCVB Chief Executive Officers, Chairs, Board Members and staff.

Entertainment came in the form of The Scared Weird Little Guys with an Eminem version of Waltzing Matilda as well as a specially produced birthday DVD featuring well-known Melbourne personalities and looking back through the ages of Melbourne`s colourful history and how the city came to be Australia`s top business event city.

Established in 1968 – the first convention and visitors bureau in Australia – MCVB has undergone many changes in its history. However it was 1977 that heralded a new era for the organisation when it finally had the resources to actively target international conventions.

Back in 1977, the conference, convention and corporate travel industry was a $17 million industry attracting just 9 international conventions a year. Today, Melbourne is Australia`s top international convention city with a $1.2 billion industry that supports 14,000 jobs in Victoria and plays host to more than 50 international conventions a year.

Janine Kirk, Chairman of MCVB, praised the achievements of MCVB and the industry, Acknowledgement should go the insight, commitment and determination of those who invested in Melbourne as a world leading convention city. In the last ten years MCVB has delivered more than 1 million room nights in our hotels and generated more than $1 billion in economic impact for the Victorian economy – an incredible record.

Business events bring experts on a wide diversity of topics to Melbourne from around the world. In the last month alone the city has hosted international conventions on everything from bee keeping to brain research.

Melbourne`s reputation as a centre of innovation is greatly assisting us to win these major world events. For example, in-vitro fertilisation, the world`s first influenza drug, Latex Gloves, the Bionic Ear, the Black Box, the world`s first reading machine for the blind – all of these originated in Melbourne and they have all helped put our city on the map as an inspirational think tank and meeting place for world scientists, academics and researchers, said Ms Kirk.

Business events are the highest yielding sector of the tourism industry with international convention delegates spending more than five times as much as international leisure tourists. As more cities realise the huge economic benefit of hosting large international conventions, competition to secure these events is increasingly fierce. Marketing and bidding strategies have changed considerably over the years.

MCVB`s Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said, No longer can we rely on a handshake and the promise of koalas and sandy beaches to secure major events, the bidding process has become hugely complex, sophisticated and political. We are fortunate that Melbourne has the infrastructure, expertise and Government support already in place.

Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre chief executive Leigh Harry says State Government support of $370 million has led to the construction of what will be Australia`s largest combined convention and exhibition centre, when it opens for business in 2009.

When the new Melbourne Convention Centre opens, it`ll be one of the most impressive architectural and environmental buildings in Australia. Already 17 international conventions which will inject more than $285 million and bring 42,000 international business delegates to the State.

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