Melbourne is kicking off 2023 with a few high-profile hotel openings, including boutique designer hotel Ovolo Laneways, the first of the brand to debut in Australia; the country’s tallest hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne, which will open later this spring; and Rydges Melbourne (CBD), which reopens in May following a complete transformation — and will feature one of the city’s largest conference and event venues.
Another anticipated opening in the works: a $340 million, yet-to-be-named, purpose-built collection. Developed by TFE Hotels, the project will add high-end conferencing options in the form of a 1,000-person conference centre on a sky bridge connecting two accommodation towers — complete with 360-degree views of the city and Australia’s largest infinity pool.
As Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) Chief Executive, Julia Swanson, puts it: “Melbourne’s hotel boom continues with world-class accommodation open for new bookings in 2023 and beyond, providing exciting new options for professional conference organizers and associations looking to host their next conference in Melbourne.”
Melbourne’s diverse dining and drinks scene — one of the most dynamic in the country — also offers visitors a melting pot of flavours and styles of cuisine ranging from trendy tapas in a laneway eatery to Vietnamese in the neighbourhood of Richmond or Spanish food in Fitzroy. A few of the exciting new restaurants that recently opended: riverside Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters, which offers a sharing menu driven by ingredients from local farmers and producers; Chris Lucas’ Northern Italian-inspired steakhouse Grill Americano; and fermentation-focused Parcs.
And at the popular Queen Victoria Market, delegates can browse a curated and rotating range of goods that are crafted and designed/recycled from ethically sourced materials, part of the recently launched The Purpose Precinct.
On the Calendar
The year ahead is already gearing up to be a busy one for business events, with 92 events confirmed events (including 10 hero association events) anticipated to bring almost 65,000 international and national delegates. In May alone, there are 23 events slated — attracting nearly 17,500 attendees — including the Rotary International Convention, theInternational Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) and SpineWeek. In fact, the Rotary International Convention is the most valuable conference Victoria has ever won, since it will attract members from more than 120 countries and regions around the world.
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME), the leading trade event in the Asia-Pacific region, which will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC)from 13 – 15 February. MCEC, one of the largest event spaces in the southern hemisphere, hosts more than 1,000 events per year and is a fantastic example of how the city’s venues push boundaries and have an innovative and sustainable approach to events.
MCEC partners with leading charities and even has its own ambassador programme, Club Melbourne, which counts 126 leaders in fields like science, medicine and technology that associations can tap into and utilize for events. Since it was created in 2005, the programme has \ attracted more than 150 events to Melbourne, including the 20th International AIDS Conference in 2014 and the Word Diabetes Congress in 2013.
One of the key factors when it comes to hosting events in Melbourne is the range of support offered by the Melbourne Convention Bureau, including access to local industry and academia, as well as the MCB Knowledge Partner network and a local organizing committee that offers end-to-end assistance.
“We engage what we call ‘Team Melbourne’ to not only support the business development and bid process, but to ensure successful delivery of the event. MCB is there every step of the way, whether the event is held in 2 or 10 years’ time,” says Swanson. “MCB is able to open up discussion channels with government and industry sectors via our links into government departments and knowledge partners. We can provide insights on government policy initiatives and projects and link your activity back to Victoria’s future industries, putting your issue on the government agenda.”
It’s this meeting of the minds, the adaptability and ingenuity of MCB’s team and services, plus the ever-growing local landscape, infrastructure and network of institutes and organizations, that is making Melbourne an exciting place to explore, share knowledge and be part of the legacies underway that are shaping so many sectors of major industries.