The world leading Club Melbourne Ambassador Program celebrated another record year of international conferences at its premier annual anniversary dinner last night and officially welcomed five new inductees to the program.
In the last 12 months, Melbourne has hosted 13 international conferences secured by Ambassadors, bringing in almost 20,000 visitors and worth $82 million in economic impact to the state of Victoria.
Speaking at the Club Melbourne 9th Anniversary Dinner, The Minister for Tourism and Major Events, the Hon. Louise Asher, acknowledged the significant contribution of Ambassadors.
“Club Melbourne has proven an influential voice for Melbourne internationally and provides the opportunity to promote our state’s expertise around the world and bring thought leadership to Victoria,” Minister Asher said.
“On behalf of all Victorians, I thank Ambassadors for their work in promoting Melbourne as Australia’s international convention and exhibition destination and their efforts in securing world class business events for Victoria.”
Business events contribute over $1.2 billion annually, generate more than 200,000 jobs across the state and contribute significantly to Victoria’s tourism industry.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Chief Executive Peter King said: “The theme of last night was ‘bringing the world to Melbourne’ which is just what our Ambassadors do.
“We are thankful for the time they volunteer, and through their hard work MCEC regularly hosts some of the largest and most prestigious conferences in the world that showcase our expertise in fields like science, medicine and technology.
“We welcome new Ambassadors to the program who are part of ‘Team Melbourne’, along with our partners including Melbourne Convention Bureau and the Victorian State Government, and will all play a crucial role in the success of this vibrant and exciting business events industry.”
Peter King also acknowledged the significant role Ambassador and Local Co-Chair Professor Sharon Lewin played in bringing the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) to Melbourne, which attracted almost 14,000 delegates and generated $80 million for Victoria.
“These events are so important for us to build networks with international organisations, create new alliances, generate tourism and leave a legacy of new opportunities for both research and business,” King added.
During the evening five new Ambassadors from a wide variety of industries were welcomed to Club Melbourne, bringing a wealth of new experience, networks and potential conferences. The new Ambassadors include:
- Professor Katie Allen – Director of the NHMRC funded Centre of Food and Allergy Research as well as the Director of Population Health Research Theme at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
- Professor Brendan Crabb – Director and CEO of the Burnet Institute and President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).
- Professor Yousef Ibrahim – Professor of Engineering at Federation University Australia.
- Professor Iven Mareels – Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering at The University of Melbourne.
- Professor Kathryn North AM – Director of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
New Club Melbourne inductee, Professor Brendan Crabb, was involved in AIDS 2014 last month and commented on the importance of the program in attracting events to Melbourne.
“While conferences are incredibly valuable and everybody wants to attend them, they don’t just happen. They need leaders to identify the right venue, the right theme and the right backers and Club Melbourne is the glue that brings together influential Melburnians to do just that,” Professor Crabb said.
Club Melbourne is owned and led by MCEC with support and collaboration from Melbourne Convention Bureau and the Victorian State Government.
The elite thinkers and leaders of Club Melbourne have collectively helped to attract 87 international conferences, boosting the Victorian economy by more than $580 million for Victoria since the program’s inception in 2005.
From 40 original Club Melbourne Ambassadors in 2005, the program now includes 130 Ambassadors such as Emeritus Professor Sir Gustav Nossal AC, Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC and Professor Suzanne Cory AC, along with other leaders from medicine, science and environment, technology, and engineering, business and education.