One thousand and fifty-two events were hosted by Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) last year. This year, over 1,100 events have been slotted into the pipeline, making it a record year for the centre.
The increase has been attributed to MCEC's flexible approach in making use of its space for smaller meetings and events besides large-scale conventions and exhibitions. There is also a spate of returning local events such as Victoria's Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal, which attracts over 80,000 attendees.
International events making their mark include the 15th World Public Health Congress with 3,000 delegates in April; the International Dragon Awards with over 5,000 delegates in August; and VidCon Australia with over 7,000 delegates in September.
Meanwhile, MCEC is on track with its AU$200 million expansion plans, targeted for completion in mid-2018. The expansion will see the addition of a 1,000 seat retractable theatre and multi-purpose event space such as exhibition halls and meeting and banquet rooms, adding nearly 20,000 sqm to the centre.
"Within our new building, event organisers can stage an exhibition, which can then transform into a plenary session and then convert into a gala dinner space for the same event…To date, we have secured or are in the process of contracting over AU$15 million of revenue in the new space, which will be ready to house events from July 2018," said MCEC's Chief Executive Peter King.
MCEC's new space is expected to generate an additional 74,000 international visitors annually.
The centre also continues to attract medical conferences, boosting Victoria's reputation as a global hub for medical research.
Recent wins by the centre include: the 17th Asian Chemical Congress with 1,200 delegates; Meeting of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists with 850 delegates; the World Congress on Developmental Origins of Health and Disease with 800 delegates; and the 17th World Congress on Menopause with 2,000 delegates.