Demand for business events in Melbourne has bounced back faster than expected as Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) travelled to IMEX 2022 in Frankfurt this week to talk to the international market about everything Melbourne has to offer as a destination.

The Melbourne delegation for the first IMEX event since 2019 was led by Julia Swanson, CEO of MCB and Peter King, CEO of MCEC, who met a significant number of international buyers and potential clients from all around the globe. While in Frankfurt they also networked with global counterparts to discuss and unpack global trends in business events.

IMEX Frankfurt 2022 is Europe’s largest business events trade show bringing together over 5,000 global decision-makers and hosted buyers. It provides an opportunity for MCEC and MCB to promote everything Melbourne has to offer as a world-class destination for business events.

MCB was excited to return to IMEX to speak to international buyers after three years and introduce the city’s incredible array of new product offerings.

Melbourne has not stood still during the pandemic. In fact, as a premier destination for delegates and event planners, Melbourne is ever-changing its offering with even more compelling reasons to host business events in the city, with a high number of new attractions, hotels, dining offerings and cultural experiences now open in Melbourne and its regions providing more compelling reasons to host business events in the city.

IMEX also provided an opportunity for the team to showcase how Melbourne has demonstrated business events can be conducted safely and effectively with COVID-safe measures in place, that don’t compromise the experience as seen with the return of Melbourne signature events like the Australian Open, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Asia Pacific Incentives & Meeting Event (AIME).

With one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world, Melbourne continues to be a major drawcard for many international associations, with the city expecting to welcome 17,600 international delegates across 25 international business events before the year’s end.  The swift return to large delegations is spurred on with international travel made easier with no pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements or quarantine for fully COVID-19 vaccinated international visa holders.

Aviation access is rebuilding quickly with many routes now re-established and new routes are opening up such as Melbourne to Dallas Fort Worth which connects with a significant market in the mid US. More from the east coast of the US are expected, while flights out of San Francisco and Los Angeles to Melbourne are starting to reopen over the next few months, as well as long haul from Europe.

MCEC’s executives discussed the high demand for business events at MCEC since COVID-19 restrictions eased. Business has swiftly returned to pre-pandemic levels with May 2022 one of the busiest months in the Centre’s history. 

They also spoke to buyers about MCEC’s response to the impact of COVID-19, since the last IMEX gathering in 2019, including the transformation of the business with an exciting shift to an Agile operating model, the launch of The LUME Melbourne digital art galleryMCEC’s ambitious sustainability strategy, the development of SkyFarm, and the introduction of hybrid events.

The event also provided MCEC with an opportunity to discuss emerging trends at MCEC with other industry leaders including our ongoing evolution of virtual and hybrid events, our increased focus on enhancing visitor experience and work to make the connection between MCEC and Melbourne even stronger.