Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre expansion celebrates record return

Published: 11 July 2019

An expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has helped deliver $1.1 billion to the Victorian economy in its first year, attracting prestigious international and national events to Melbourne.

MCEC’s economic impact has grown by 12 per cent year-on-year, cementing Victoria’s reputation as a world-leading conference destination.

The original MCEC was opened in 1996 and expanded in 2009; the most recent development opened in July 2018.

This 2018 project added almost 20,000 square metres of flexible space including meeting rooms, banquet rooms and a 9,000 square metre exhibition hall, as well as the 347-room hotel, Novotel South Wharf.

The expansion of MCEC has taken its capacity to 70,000 square metres – three-and-a-half times the size of the MCG playing surface – and has been a key factor in the growth of the event economy.

MCEC hosted close to 1300 events last financial year. The biggest in terms of attendance was the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, bringing 85,000 people to the centre.

Other events in the top five were: Melbourne Street Eatz, attracting 55,000 food lovers, the Good Food and Wine Show (30,000), Penny Arcade Expo (20,000) and Schwarzenegger-heavy Arnold Sports Festival Australia (19,000).

Business events have become the highest-yielding sector in Victoria’s visitor economy with bookings made years in advance, including the Rotary International Conference which is expected to welcome 20,000 delegates to Melbourne in 2023.