Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 19 2016

Why More Medical Meeting Planners Are Counting On This City For Global Attendance

Karen Bolinger



What do the World Diabetes Congress, the World Cardiology Congress, the International Congress of the World Federation of Hemophilia, the World Cancer Congress and the International AIDS Conference have in common? Over the past 18 months, each of these high-profile healthcare events  chose the same host city: Melbourne, Australia. Between these five events, the APAC convention hub welcomed nearly 35,000 healthcare professionals. That number alone is impressive enough, but the international attendance statistics are even more astounding: 75 percent of attendees were international.

As medical meeting planners craft strategies for the future, they’re all working to expand their organizations’ global reaches. However, attracting an audience from around the world isn’t easy — particularly for medical professionals with packed schedules and limited access to sponsorship dollars. Melbourne’s ability to draw such a wide audience showcases the destination’s commitment to connecting meeting planners with regional resources that will fuel attendance growth. 

“With the large population base in the APAC region and Melbourne’s reputation as an intellectual capital, more medical professionals are looking for both education and collaboration opportunities., Melbourne is where organizations can support associations meet their objectives of increasing attendance from a around the world”” Karen Bolinger, CEO, Melbourne Convention Bureau, says. “We working to develop strong relationships with associations and societies throughout the region to help connect and drive attendance.”

SEE ALSO: Club Melbourne Ambassador Program

Melbourne’s key to success is the ‘Team Melbourne’ approach to bidding for and supporting international conferences, as they know a successful bid requires extensive support and collaboration form the entire destination. MCB is renowned for facilitating this collaboration, bringing together State Government, the City of Melbourne, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), industry suppliers and academia at various stages to pull together a compelling bid for the city. Once the bid is won, the collaboration continues to ensure seamless interactions with meeting planners and drive maximum attendance through coordinated sales and marketing activities.

MCB’s collaboration with local hosts, who are representatives from local organizing committees, including Club Melbourne Ambassadors, play a vital role in attracting large conferences to Melbourne. The program is an invitation-only group of Victoria’s elite thought leaders. A great example is the strength of Melbourne’s scientific community and expertise in HIV research led by Club Melbourne Ambassador, Professor Sharon Lewin, who was a major factor in Melbourne’s successful bid for AIDS 2014.

SEE ALSO: How The Government Supports Melbourne’s Role In Medicine

More Than Short-Term Success

While Bolinger and her team at the MCB are happy to celebrate attendance numbers, they are equally proud of what these medical events will leave behind after everyone has returned home. “Each of these five conferences left legacies, such as policy and legislative change and health and social improvements, meaning these conferences are still having an impact today,” Bolinger says.

For example, at the World Cancer Congress, the International Agency for Research on Cancer announced a new regional hub for cancer registration in the Pacific Islands. The hub is designed to improve data collection and help reduce the societal and economic burden of cancer. At the World Diabetes Congress, the 10,000+ attendees united to leave a big footprint with the founding of the Parliamentarians for Diabetes Global Network. The organization is designed to make a bigger difference in supporting diabetes prevention, management plans and strategies around the world.

Looking ahead, Melbourne will continue to stand out on the map for the scientific and medical communities. The International Society for Stem Cell Research will bring leaders in stem cell and regenerative research to Melbourne in 2018.

MORE: Transformative Technology At The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

Make Melbourne Your Meeting’s Next Home

Interested in taking your meeting to Melbourne? Now is the perfect time. PCMA recently announced its first Citywide Auction outside the United States. Meeting planners can submit an opening bid of $125,000 for the Melbourne Citywide Auction package, valued at $350,000. Learn more here.

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