Melbourne boosts offer with Precinct

Melbourne is to expand its convention offer, after receiving a A$6m (£2.2m) boost in funding from the Victoria state government to support international convention and meeting bids. A key development comes from the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC) and its industry partners, which have formed a marketing alliance to promote the centre, local venues and entertainment under the brand Yarrabanks Convention Precinct. “We’re hoping to grow this precinct as a brand,” said MECC chief executive Leigh Harry. “Delegates who spend their time within the precinct cut back on transport time and costs.” The area, which stretches along the Yarra River, is bordered by the MECC, and three-, four- and five-star hotels, including Holiday Inn, Sheraton Towers and Crown Towers. The last of these is currently constructing a second tower, which will bring the hotel’s room quota to 1,000, as well as a convention centre with plenary space for up to 700. The facility is scheduled for completion by late 2003. C&I programmes can be created to incorporate all or some of the venues, including nightlife and reception facilities. Additionally, the state government is launching a feasibility study to determine whether the MECC should be expanded. “We’ve had to turn away business because of the venue’s size,” added Harry. “And we are looking at a 5,500 capacity plenary facility for the convention centre.” Melbourne has won six international conferences between 2003 and 2008, boosting the city’s convention revenue by more than A$38m (£14.5m).

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