April 21, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Cairns Convention Centre is seeing domestic and international business events returning to the tropical North Queensland destination, following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the opening of both interstate and international borders.

The venue is expecting to host more than 25 conferences before the end of 2022, bringing 8,000 delegates through its doors and injecting $25 million into the local economy.

The centre is also anticipating more business wins in conjunction with the Queensland Government’s Convention and Exhibition Centre Economic Recovery Bid Support Program, which is providing $7 million in financial support to conferences choosing the state’s three largest convention centres as their host.

“Seeing the return of conferences will boost the business travel sector in Cairns which will significantly help the region’s operators and fill the hotel rooms,” said general manager of the Cairns Convention Centre Janet Hamilton.

“It is great to see associations and corporates gaining confidence and confirming national and international events.”

Cairns Convention Centre will host SUNBELT 2022, the XLII International Social Networks Conference, in July, when the flagship event for the International Network for Social Network Analysis comes to the southern hemisphere for the first time. The event was originally supposed to be hosted in Melbourne in January, before it was moved to Cairns in mid-2021.

The centre has also recently won the Australian Menopause Society Conference for September 2022 and the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference for 2023.

Following a refurbishment phase, completed in April 2021, the venue is also currently undergoing a major expansion, with 10,000m2 of space to be added, including a new third storey. The expansion is set to open in early 2023.

“It is exciting to welcome delegates back to the Centre and see their positive reaction to the refurbishment,” said Hamilton.

“The new contemporary design and colours integrate the centre with our beautiful destination.

“The new expansion is going to bring new opportunities for events, with a large outdoor terrace looking across the stunning Trinity Inlet, which will certainly make for great networking and immersion into our tropical lifestyle.”

The state government’s Convention and Exhibition Centre Economic Recovery Bid Support Program is supporting events of between 350 and 1,000 in-person delegates, which will run for at least three days before the end of March 2025 and comprise at least 50 per cent interstate delegates. Funding of $100 per delegate is on offer, rising to $120 per delegate for a multi-year deal.