by Trevor Connell
In August 2015 Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren announced a new entity to bring tourism and major events under one organisation.
Visit Victoria will constitute a merger of the Victorian Major Events Corporation, the Melbourne Convention Bureau and Tourism Victoria.
Sir Rod Eddington AO will lead the establishment of Visit Victoria as Interim Chair, with the new body set to be fully operational in 2016.
At AIME, Melbourne Convention Bureau CEO Karen Bollinger was asked how this merger is affecting her organisation.
Bollinger told ASE that they are currently in discussions as to how the bureau will fit within the new entity. Bollinger is on the transition team working very closely within the group to work out the strategy and is confident that the Bureau will operate as an entity like they currently do within the new organisation, so there won’t be job losses.
Bollinger said “It is recognised that we (MCB) are a key component of it. Last year $80M was announced for major events funding and we are hoping to tap into some of that for some of our activities.”
She added, “The transition team see MCB as a very strong operating model to base Visit Victoria on. We do have a commercial approach to gaining business because we are not a government entity”
However, MCB is a membership based organisation so anything they do will need to be taken to the members for a vote. The bureau will hopefully, in the next few weeks, have something announce around that.
Bollinger agreed that the members could indeed reject the merger.
In regards the future of AIME, the Bureau (who owns AIME) has renewed their contract with Reed Travel Exhibitions for another three years.
“We have a contract with Reed to run AIME for the next three years so this transition will not affect that.” added Bollinger.