Melbourne's business tourism industry gathered this week at a gala luncheon to celebrate 30 years of the successful promotion of
Melbourne as one of Australia's premier business events destinations.
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, 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, and a specially produced
birthday DVD featuring well-known Melbourne personalities, looking back through the ages of Melbourne's colourful history and how
the city came to be one of Australia's top business event cities.
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 one of Australia's top international convention
cities 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
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
one of the highest yielding sectors 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
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