January 18, 2023 | By Bronwen Largier

There was a flurry of news just after micenet gave its newsletter some time off for Christmas. Here’s what we missed at the end of 2022.

Conference wins for Melbourne and Wellington

Melbourne is expected to host over 1,000 delegates for the 14th World Chambers Congress (WCC), having secured the event for 2025.

The biennial meeting of business chamber leaders was won through a bid led by Melbourne Convention Bureau in partnership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The bid was supported by both the state government and Tourism Australia’s national Business Events Bid Fund Program. Melbourne’s bid won out over a competing bid from China.

The event is expected to contribute $3.9 million into the economy and generate 2,250 hotel room nights when it takes places at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in September 2025.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra called the event “the Olympic Games of business”.

“Winning the rights to stage it in Melbourne is a major coup for Victoria,” he said.

Meanwhile Business Events Wellington has been working with various schools within Victoria University of Wellington and with Tourism New Zealand’s business events team to secure three international conferences for New Zealand’s capital.

Wellington is set to host OzCHI, the International Annual Conference on Computer Human Interaction, in 2023 and the 15th Linguistic Landscapes Workshop in 2024, with a third conference yet to be announced publicly.

“Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington is a key driver of Wellington’s knowledge economy,” says Business Events Wellington’s manager Irette Ferreira.

“The internationally recognised expertise of the faculty plays a major role in attracting international conferences to the capital. These conferences boost local knowledge by bringing global thought leaders to the city, while simultaneously showcasing Wellington’s knowledge strengths and creating opportunities for collaboration. They’re a win for the university, for Wellington and New Zealand.”

Strong results for convention centres

Convention centres in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia reported triumphant results to close out the year.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) unveiled their results for the 2021-2022 financial year just before Christmas, announcing an economic impact of over $383 million from 349 events and 1.6 million visitors.

This is a strong result for the venue, given the first half of the financial year was dominated by a long lockdown and the second half of the year began with a shadow lockdown thanks to the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID last summer.

The results far outstrip ICC Sydney’s results for the same period – its New South Wales counterpart flagged a contribution of $190 million from 300 events which brought 314,000 delegates to events hosted by the centre, just over 100,000 of whom were virtual.

“The last financial year saw MCEC begin to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 on our industry. As a business, we didn’t sit still but doubled down on our commitment to customers, the community and the environment,” said MCEC’s outgoing chief executive Peter King, before his departure in December.

“We’re now starting to see the demand for meetings and events bounce back much stronger than initially anticipated, which means we can continue to play a key role in Victoria’s economic growth.

“We can be confident these results are a sign of things to come, as we maintain momentum toward our future return to the record-breaking revenue and impact we had in the year prior to COVID-19.”

MCEC’s new chief executive Natalie O’Brien AM has now taken up her position as head of the venue.

Te Pae Christchurch

With seven months of operation under its proverbial belt, Te Pae Christchurch enjoyed a strong start to delivering business in 2022, hosting 180 events for 60,000 attendees with an impact of nearly NZ$45 million for New Zealand’s second largest city.

Te Pae’s 2022 calendar comprised 62 multi-day conferences, 66 banquets, several exhibitions, including business events trade show MEETINGS, a live entertainment event and other smaller meetings and seminars.

“There’s been a real pent-up demand for Christchurch as a business events destination,” said Te Pae Christchurch’s general manager Ross Steele.

“The number of events has just blown us away – we’ve really hit the ground running.

“The support from the domestic market has been really humbling, particularly coming off the back of COVID.”

Alongside New Zealand audiences, the venue also held international events in its inaugural year.

The convention centre’s booming start has also been felt by its supply chain.

“I would say it has quadrupled our workload,” said Exhibition Hire Services’ Christchurch branch manager, Nicola Ransome.

“We’ve got to the point where we’re having to buy more vehicles and employ double the number of staff, just to be able to service the events that have been happening in there. So, it’s been absolutely huge.”

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre beat its 2022 target by 40 per cent, hosting 1,300 events in the 2022 calendar year for more than 750,000 delegates. The centre’s activities generated over AU$94 million in economic impact.

“It is also great to see how enthused people have been to attend in-person events again,” said the venue’s general manager Alan Pryor.

“Accomplishing 90 per cent of our record-breaking 2019 performance is a great achievement by our entire team considering the circumstances. Everyone has worked tirelessly to deliver innovative solutions through our flexible and client-centric approach, contributing to the successful delivery of so many events this year.”