Announced in 2019 as a two-part project which also included a significant refurbishment of the existing centre, the expansion offers an additional 10,500m2 of space.
The venue has a new third level, offering banqueting space for 500 attendees and an outdoor terrace overlooking Trinity Inlet, around which Cairns is built.
A 450-seat plenary space, divisible in two, three large meeting rooms and exhibition space for 30 booths are also part of the expansion. A new undercover outdoor porte cochere can be used as an event space too.
The opening of the new space means the centre will now be able to host more events simultaneously, with the expansion able to host a conference of up to 500 delegates.
“We are already receiving such positive reactions to the new spaces with clients impressed with the new contemporary design and light filled areas with our lush tropical rainforest in the background,” said Cairns Convention Centre general manager, Janet Hamilton.
“We sit at the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful destinations and great care and consideration was taken to bringing the natural environment into the centre’s spaces. From our lush tropical entry and open spaces with floor to ceiling windows, to our stunning Trinity banquet room and Terrace with views across the inlet, the centre showcases Cairns’ natural assets.”
The expansion is expected to drive an additional 20,000 visitors to the centre each year and inject $50 million into the tropical north Queensland economy.
ASM Global’s Asia Pacific chairman and chief executive, Harvey Lister AM, said the expansion would augment the venue’s reputation on the world stage. Managed by ASM Global, Cairns Convention Centre has already been declared the world’s best convention centre twice by the Association of International Congress Centres.
“Cairns Convention Centre is on track to host 160 events this financial year, including 60 conferences bringing more than 35,000 delegates to Cairns, delivering a visitor spend of over $100 million into the region,” said Lister.
Richard Coulson, director of Cox Architecture and leader of the design team for the expansion, said the new infrastructure was both sophisticated and complementary to its tropical surroundings.
“The Centre is a very sophisticated building. The technology is quite remarkable. Yet it feels like a place of Cairns, which has a renowned, relaxed lifestyle,” he said.
“As we know, convention centres are often large but sometimes soulless places. This expansion has allowed a richness which is quite rare for these spaces. It is open, generous and flexible and yet intimate at the same time. And that’s what Tropical North Queensland is as a destination.”
More than 1,000 people worked on the expansion project.