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  • The Big, the Bold, the Beautiful: AIME 2023 Highlights

    February 21, 2023

    Vibrant. Positive. Upbeat. Three words that best sum up the atmosphere and experience of Asia Pacific Incentives Meetings and Events (AIME) 2023.

    AIME 2023 kicked off the start of the international business event calendar with a bang - 400 hosted buyers, 3,000 visitors, 350 exhibitors from 25 countries and 12,000 meetings with global event management professionals across two days. Owned by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and in its 30th year, AIME is a testament to the longevity and legacy of the show and its importance to the global business events industry.

    Watch this highlights video for the best of AIME 2023!


    The Uncover Melbourne program

    As the first official social event on the AIME 2023 calendar, the exclusive pre-event Uncover Melbourne program kicked off on Sunday 12 February.

    MCB joined forces with its partners across the city to create 13 bespoke tours filled with premium experiences for hosted buyers from Australia, India, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, North Asia and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

    Each tour was designed to showcase Melbourne and regional Victoria’s best business event assets – from exceptional creative spaces and unique experiences to exquisite culinary and cultural flair that MCB partners have to offer.

    Buyers were treated to everything from a Foodie Trail of Melbourne’s hotspots and Melbourne Skydeck (the southern hemisphere’s highest observation deck) to an off-road safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo and an exclusive preview of the new Ritz-Carlton Melbourne ahead of its March opening.

    The Uncover Melbourne program concluded with drinks and a welcome from MCB underneath the Melbourne City skyline on the banks of the Yarra River, at the warehouse-style Showtime Events Centre.

    Take a look at the highlights of the day here.

    Two comedic entertainers in red theatre-usher style coats posing at the bar with a man drinking a glass of wine.

    Exclusive Melbourne adventure for media

    While hosted buyers were off discovering the delights of Melbourne, MCB invited a group of global media on their own exclusive day out.

    Media representatives boarded one of Port Phillip Ferry’s purpose-built 35m catamaran ferries, traversing Port Phillip Bay to Portarlington, where Wine Wheels whisked them off to Jack Rabbit Vineyard.

    With breathtaking views out to the bay, Jack Rabbit was a fantastic example of what the Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula have to offer, only a short distance from Melbourne. After wine tasting and a delicious long table lunch, Microflite’s helicopters collected everyone from the winery and returned to Melbourne for the TIME.ROHN exhibition. Set in a long-abandoned third-floor wing of Flinders Street Station, TIME.ROHN is a nostalgic love letter to mid-century Melbourne and a tribute to one of the city’s great icons.

    Arial view of a vineyard and green farm on a cliff overlooking blue ocean.

    A to the I to the M to the E: A knowledge day like no other

    The following day kicked off with AIME’s exceptional Knowledge Program at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), with Victorian Government Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, the Hon. Steve Dimopolous opening the session.

    AIME’S Knowledge Program is the launchpad for the global events industry to come together to immerse in learning and growth, and inspire events for the next year and beyond.

    This year it was the first time the Knowledge Program was curated by an Advisory Committee consisting of eight industry leaders from the APAC region. Health, wellbeing and resilience were the central points of the discussion.

    The program featured a stellar lineup of keynote speakers, including Futurist Professor Ben Hamer, Storyteller Monica Rosenfeld and Australian tennis star Jelena Dokic, who received an emotion-charged standing ovation in response to her personal story of survival and resilience.

    Adding a true Melbourne flavour to the day, Master of Ceremonies El Kwang kept attendees laughing, while talented musicians Song Division showed off their masterful skills in improvising spontaneous songs about the speakers and speeches to entertain the crowd.

    Watch entertaining highlights of AIME’s Knowledge Program here.

    Audience seated in conference laughing and clapping.

    The big 30 welcome event

    It has been widely spread that this year’s Welcome Event and 30th Anniversary Party will go down in history as one of the best.

    Hosted buyers and media were picked up from their respective hotels across Melbourne and taken to MCB’s venue partner, Marvel Stadium. A state-of-the-art sports, entertainment and conference complex in the heart of Melbourne, the iconic Marvel Stadium has hosted some of the biggest international sporting events, as well as memorable concerts for some of the world’s biggest stars including U2, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

    It was the perfect venue to showcase Melbourne’s appeal as a leading business events destination, with an impressive party staged on the field by Peter Jones Special Events (in partnership with Talk2Media) and supported by some of Melbourne’s best and brightest in the events industry, including Delaware North, Audio Visual Dynamics, Dann Event Hire, Décor it, Song Division, Creative Technology, The Cardboard Mill and Media Wall.

    A dance floor was set up on the field, with stylish sofas laid out for guests to relax. A delicious, smoky barbecue wafted through the air, while waitstaff weaved around with trays of tasty canapes and cool beverages.

    Revellers gathered around the stage on sunset as Murrundindi, Head Man of the Wurundjeri Clan of Melbourne, performed an inspiring Welcome to Country, his didgeridoo echoing around the massive stadium. Everyone was then led onto the grass to form a massive number 30, captured from high above to mark AIME’s 30th birthday.

    Afterward, the party vibe turned up 10 notches, as popular entertainers Hot Dub Time Machine hit the stage. Playing top hits from the last 30 years in front of a giant screen of video clips triggered a wave of nostalgia, as a joyful crowd danced under the stars and cheered as fireworks lit up the sky.

    Take a look at the Welcome Party video for highlights of the evening.

    Crowd in front of stage with DJ and fireworks.

    The show floor opens

    New to this year’s show was the Victorian Precinct, occupying the largest footprint on the show floor, including the famous Melbourne, Victoria Stand – the largest destination stand at AIME 2023.

    In celebration of AIME’s 30th anniversary milestone, the stand was designed in collaboration with MCB’s strategic partner Harry the hirer. Boasting a brand-new design built across two-stories, it showcased 43 exciting exhibitors spread across the Victoria Precinct and Melbourne, Victoria Stand combined.

    A hive of activity, the new Melbourne stand showcased the city’s storied culture, kicking off each morning with a didgeridoo Yikaki performance by Kiernan Ironfield. The top floor of the stand was transformed into The Yarning Area, with a café serving coffee, Blak Brews tea and sweet treats by Bunji Catering.

    Visitors were treated to a Worn Gundidj Ice Cream pop up celebrating native Indigenous flavours. While Jarrah Boy Beer flowed at happy hour and tastebuds tingled with a cold cooking demonstration and tasting of Wallaby Tartare with Finger Lime by the National Indigenous Culinary Institute.

    Get a glimpse of the Melbourne, Victoria Stand highlights here.

    AIME 2023 highlights - two performers dressed in red jackets and black pants posing in front of the Melbourne Convention Bureau trade show stand.

    Till next year

    AIME 2024 will be back, bigger and better than ever, from 19 – 21 February.

    Special thank you to Talk2Media, MCEC and all MCB partners who participated in AIME 2023 to put their best foot forward and demonstrate the variety and flexibility of options for event planners considering Melbourne for their next business event.