AIME makes stellar comeback in 30th anniversary event

Asia Pacific’s biggest meetings and events trade show returned to Melbourne last week, welcoming more than 3,000 from Australia and beyond to the MCEC.

More than 3,000 people gathered at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) last week to connect and do business at the 2023 Asia Pacific Incentive and Meetings Event (AIME).

Held over three days (13-15 February), the premier trade event for business events in the Asia Pacific region celebrated its 30th anniversary and saw more 12,000 meetings take place across its two-day tradeshow.

Staying true to its theme of ‘More buyers. More connections. More business’, AIME 2023 welcomed more than 350 exhibitors from every Australian state as well as international destinations, up by over 50 percent compared to AIME 2022. They were joined by more than 400 buyers domestic and international buyers, representing a growth of more than 40 percent on the previous year.

This was also the fourth year that AIME has been delivered in partnership with Talk2 Media & Events and AIME owners Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), with the exception of 2021 in which the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Designed to ignite and inspire, the event kicked off with the AIME Knowledge Program which, for the first time, was curated by an Advisory Committee and ran to the theme of ‘Your Industry. Your Opportunity. What is the opportunity for the events industry now?’ It centred on topics of health, wellbeing and resilience and featured compelling keynotes by Australian tennis star Jelena Dokic, futurist professor Ben Hamer and storyteller Monica Rosenfeld.

Another highlight was the spectacular gala event which went off at Marvel Stadium in celebration of AIME’s milestone anniversary. Attendees were treated to a pearl-themed catering menu by Victorian producers Delaware North and danced to DJ Hot Dub Time Machine who paid homage to AIME’s 30-year legacy.

MCEC also showcased all it has to offer, from versatile and welcoming spaces to world-class food and beverage, dynamic digital content and event expertise. Visitors loved the cocktail and mocktail pods prepared by mixologists on the tradeshow floor, while the onsite Goldfields Café + Bar offered a popular place to relax and network.

AIME also introduced the industry to a future Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Opening in 2026 and operated by the same Trust that manages MCEC, the Geelong centre will include a hotel, commercial spaces, a plenary venue and 3,700 square metres of multipurpose space – located on Geelong’s waterfront.

MCEC chief executive Natalie O’Brien AM said the Centre was the home of AIME and it was proud to have supported the event since first opening its doors in 1996.

“AIME 2023 is the perfect forum for the business events industry to come together, to celebrate our resilience, and to confidently look to the future, and MCEC is the perfect venue for an event of this scale and influence,” O’Brien said.

“As Australia’s largest convention and exhibition space, we’re well placed to create spaces for people to connect, collaborate and learn. We have 70,000 square metres of flexible event space in the heart of Melbourne and our riverside location makes for spectacular settings to celebrate 30 years of AIME.”

Business events generate significant activity across economies. Pre-COVID, they contributed around $36 billion to Australia’s economy, and leading industry bodies put the global contribution at $2.5 trillion.




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