Gold Coast Tourism CEO, Martin Winter, says the organisation is preparing to ramp up activity in the international meetings sector, launching an ambassador program in mid-March.

Speaking at AIME in Melbourne last week, Mr Winter said the appointment of Anna Case as director of business events at the Gold Coast Convention Bureau in late 2012 has resulted in a raft of fresh ideas and new energy, and establishing an ambassadors’ program to help to sell the region and assist in bidding was just one of those.

“We have three large universities on the Gold Coast with in excess of 30,000 students and with very large faculties. Our hospital is the largest teaching hospital in the southern hemisphere. Until now we really haven’t tapped into these resources,” he said.

“We have identified clinicians, scientists and researchers who sit on international [association] boards.

“We want to take our ICCA ranking from where it is now to where it should be – a second tier city with a leisure outlook to among to the top 100 in the world in the association meetings sector.”

The latest International Congress & Convention Association rankings (from 2011) puts the Gold Coast number 312 in meetings per city, hosting six international meetings that fit the ICCA criteria.

“Ninety per cent of our conference business is domestic and we still attract 47 per cent of all conference delegates coming to Queensland. It’s fair to say the lion’s share of the big international association business is going to Brisbane.”

He believes the Gold Coast can increase its share of international association business with the assistance of local ambassadors.

The official list of ambassadors was expected to be released later this month (March 2013).