Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is emerging from a period of rebuilding, after a challenging 2020/2021 financial year, owing to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite extended closures due to lockdown, MCEC’s annual report for 2020/2021 shows a positive economic impact of $49 million to Victoria. However, MCEC hosted just 154 events at the venue, a major reduction on pre-pandemic levels at around 1,200 events per year. Now, as the award-winning venue emerges from closure and the cancellation of hundreds of planned events, the organisation is ready to emerge stronger and ready for a new normal.
Peter King, Chief Executive of MCEC, said MCEC took the opportunity to rebuild and reset while its doors were closed.
“While we couldn’t run and plan events as usual, our business has focused on exploring new ways to succeed in a post-Covid world, by testing a new operating model and finding new revenue streams, partnerships, and opportunities to contribute to Victoria’s economic and social recovery,” Peter King said.
In February MCEC celebrated its 25th anniversary, a significant milestone for a venue that has hosted well over 20,000 international, national and local events and been a major driver of economic activity and thought leadership. MCEC continued to deliver on its Sustainability Plan 2016 – 2021 as well as develop and implement a new five-year sustainability strategy which acknowledges the need to future-proof the business and meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Commercial and community partnerships were a key focus in FY 2020/2021 which included:
- Working with the Victorian screen industry, including Film Victoria, to host the production of the major film ‘Blacklight’, starring Liam Neeson.
- Partnering with Village Cinema to transform exhibition bays into Australia’s first indoor drive-in cinema.
- Entering into a long-term partnership with art and culture company Grande Experiences making MCEC the permanent home to The Lume Melbourne, an immersive digital gallery and event space.
- Partnering with TEG Live and Brickman delivering the ‘Jurassic World by Brickman’ exhibition to MCEC.
- Supporting Guide Dogs Victoria by providing a safe, contained and free-of-charge space to train Guide Dogs, to ensure people with low vision or blindness could continue to receive essential services during restrictions.
Since March, MCEC has been proud to host one of Victoria’s flagship vaccination centres and play an important role in vaccinating our population, to assist with a faster recovery of the economy and the business events industry.
“Taking partnership approach has helped us to successfully navigate a very challenging time,” Peter King said. “We have learnt a lot along the way and as always it has been our people who set us apart, and our people who will lead the way in the year to come.”
View the tabled annual report here.