BEAM sat down with Julia Swanson, CEO of Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) to understand its swift success in regaining buyer confidence in the international business events market.

Getting AIME off the ground was Melbourne’s first step to kickstarting business events recovery and boosting the industry’s confidence to meet and run events again. Swanson says the city also enjoyed a calendar of major events since the start of this year, including the Australian Open, Fashion Week, Food & Wine Festival, Australian Grand Prix, and a line-up of at least 127 confirmed events in the books between now and 2023.

As international business returns and the domestic market continues to build momentum, Swanson attributes the city’s success to its unique “Team Melbourne” spirit, which she says took on a whole new level during the pandemic and gave everyone a “stronger appreciation for the events sector and the city.”

Most recently, MCB secured six international incentive groups from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and New Zealand, marking the first time Melbourne and regional Victoria welcome back incentive groups since Australia’s international borders closed in 2020.

Swanson says the wins signal a resounding vote of confidence in Melbourne as the ideal destination for incentive meeting planners and corporations looking to offer a premium programme to reward, motivate and retain staff.

The first influx of delegates sets the tone for a busy season this May when 162 Southeast Asian and New Zealand delegates arrive, filling close to 1,661 room nights and injecting more than AUD898,000 in economic contribution to Victoria’s economy.

Swanson added that the arrival of these incentive groups is encouraging for the Victorian visitor economy following a lengthy hiatus of international travel.

“We’re thrilled to once again welcome back international corporate incentive groups – both large and small – to Melbourne. MCB works to boost hotel occupancy in the traditionally quiet shoulder periods with visitors staying mid-week,” said Swanson.

For Victorian regional tourism suppliers and local businesses, business events are a major driver of regional visitation and provide a substantial economic contribution, enhancing local communities. Pre-pandemic, Melbourne attracted, on average, just over 100 incentive groups with approximately 55,000 international delegates each year spending on average AUD1,019 per day across accommodation, tourist attractions, local shops and cafes.

Across the five incentive groups arriving, delegates will visit an array of attractions in Melbourne and regional Victoria. The exciting line-up includes some of Victoria’s most popular regions, the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island Nature Park for the iconic Penguin Parade as well as a trip to enjoy the splendour of the Great Ocean Road.

“Every incentive group secured by MCB visits regional Victoria. An abundance of experiences is available within a short drive from the city centre – from coastal attractions, wine and dine experiences to nature and adventure-based activities.

“Melbourne is the ideal city to host incentive groups, and MCB excels in crafting bespoke itineraries designed to suit every group. If you want to take your corporate incentive activities to the next level, let us be your eyes and ears on the ground to help you get started,” says Swanson

As a premium incentives destination, Melbourne offers limitless experiences to be enjoyed in all seasons. From dining, shopping and art to wildlife encounters, adventurous activities and beautiful regional spots, delegates will walk away with a larger bucket list of must-try experiences than when they started.

For more inspiring ideas, check out MCB’s Itinerary Inspirations page.

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El Kwang

Author El Kwang

Recognised in his global network as an ideas man who sees opportunities in every encounter. He looks for ways to connect dynamic people from across disciplines to unearth the potential for great ideas to become outstanding. With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality, tourism and business events industry, both as a content strategist and a designer of immersive experiences around the globe, El established BEAM and built a team of Engagers committed to playing a vital part in ensuring that the world continues to move forward with innovation, growth and positivity.

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