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AIME has ear of government as baton change looms

February 20, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

After spending an evening in Old Melbourne Gaol, AIME delegates heard yesterday how Melbourne is adding hotels rooms and meetings space, notching up major convention bookings and using deeper engagement with Government to refine its business events offering.

The Old Melbourne Gaol experience was designed to show off the potential of this central Melbourne museum for meetings use. It worked excellently, with a wide-open ground at centre providing plenty of open space, combining with the strange yet compelling atmosphere of the main cell block, where curious criminal history blended with stylish catering and Mumm’s Champagne.

Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) chief executive, Karen Bolinger, said that 8500 hotel rooms were being added to the city inventory, boosting the total by 50% over the next five years.

“Our goal is to be exceptional”, Bolinger told media at the opening of AIME yesterday.

Bolinger shared some of MCB’s most recent international association wins in the medical and association sector. These include Spine Week 2020, the Annual Meeting of the International Continence Society 2021 and the General Assembly and Congress of the International Union of Crystallography 2023.

Karen Bolinger addresses AIME delegates in Old Melbourne Gaol

Continence is widely understood (it’s the opposite of incontinence) but crystallography is more obscure. Bolinger suggested Googling it. Crystallography is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in crystalline solids. Simple! The three medical and scientific conferences combined will deliver over 6400 delegates and AUD 48 million in economic contribution.

“In Melbourne we are fortunate that we tick all the boxes because of our academic, economic and industry sector strengths,” Bollinger said.

“But as a progressive destination in such a competitive landscape we have needed to identify what’s next.”

Business events in Melbourne have been identified as drivers of economic growth, beyond the direct dollar impact. The Victorian State Government recognises that the sector is a gateway to trade and investment and a platform to harness and expose local talent.

“Ultimately business events accelerate innovation, and this is why Melbourne is seeing unprecedented Government support.”

Bolinger said business events in Melbourne were written into two government portfolio strategies across seven industries.

“Only two years ago we were written into one government portfolio strategy and today we are a core strategy pillar in the department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is an important statement by government to the value of business events. They are not just talking the talk, they are walking the walk.”

Karen Bolinger, chief executive, Melbourne Convention Bureau

Bolinger confirmed that business events were high on the State Government agenda, which was good news for clients.

“Our clients can be confident of government support for their events, get access into the relevant government department, rely on government for advocacy and bid support and hold a reasonable expectation for government participation at their event.”

MEANWHILE, the organisation of AIME is about to shift from Reed Travel Exhibitions, which has run it for many years, to Talk2 Media and Events.

Chief executive of Talk2 Media and Events, Matt Pearce, said the goal would be to propel AIME into the “Grand Slam” of meetings events, in a similar league to IMEX Frankfurt. Boosting the number of hosted media buyers from the region was a priority, as was ensuring their quality and seniority to reflect the status of AIME.

Written by Peter Needham

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