News

MCEC expansion on the horizon

The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has revealed plans to expand its exhibition space as the centre prepares for its busiest period on record.

On the back of strong bookings for 2012, MCEC is almost at capacity this year, with most available space now booked out for 2013.

The centre’s economic footprint has jumped approximately 50% in recent years to around $45-$60 million per year.

Forward bookings are also looking strong, with $200 million of business in the pipeline until 2016.

MCEC chief executive Peter King said earlier this week that the figures were a “healthy indication” that the business events industry was strong.

But with infrastructure limitations forcing the centre to turn away around 30% of business, he said the centre was missing out on significant business opportunities.

“We’re really punching above our weight and are likely to beat budget forecasts this year, but the reality is that we’re full," he said. "The challenge remains that we are using 100% of our facilities. We need more space.”

MCEC is proposing to build an extra 12,500 sqm of event space to cater for increased demand. The proposal is awaiting government approval, with the decision likely to be delivered in May.

King remained confident the proposal would be approved, but stressed the development would not step on the toes of the new $1billion Sydney International Convention Centre.

“I’ve always been of the opinion that there’s enough business for us all. It’s good that Sydney’s investing in infrastructure, and we will continue to battle over individual pieces of business, but that’s healthy,” he said.

“We need more space to keep growing. The industry needs more space so it can compete against big players in Singapore and the Middle East."

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