Karen Bolinger

Apratim Ghoshal, Editor Travel And Tour World, interacts at AIME 2019 with Karen Bolinger, CEO of Melbourne Convention Bureau. She highlights on how AIME is bringing more quality buyers from across globe. Read here the full interview:

Travel And Tour World – First of all, I would like to ask about your experience with Talk2 Media?

Karen Bolinger: This year, Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) comes with new vision. It drives the profitable outcomes and is realized through challenging previous conventions and drilling down to the fundamental purpose of AIME. Talk2Media is doing well and working hard enough to bring the right buyers to the right exhibitors. They include quite easy access to all social and networking events and the “Knowledge Program” that is creating more moments for shared experiences with Asia-Pacific buyers. Their planning shows in creating an inspiration from curve-like compositions, promises to eradicate harsh edges along with a natural flow and bringing an open communication for every AIME visitor with an immersive experience.



Travel And Tour World: Last year, Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre did 205 million dollar expansion. How is global event industry experiencing this new change?

Karen Bolinger: Business event is very crucial to our economy. Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) opened its doors in 2018 following the completion of the Andrews Labor Government’s $205 million expansion. It this convention center becomes Melbourne’s major attraction. This bigger and better convention centre attracted 74,000 international visitors every year, resulting in an annual boost to Victoria’s economy. Our government is supporting us with good infrastructure to project Melbourne as best MICE destination. New hotels and resorts are also coming up. All these resulted in boost in economy and employment creation. Our Labor Government, Visit Victoria and the Melbourne Convention Bureau are working hard to attract the best business events to Victoria.




Travel And Tour World: You have hosted 2500 to 50000 delegates-meetings, which is such a big number. What are the changes you have seen in Melbourne in term of business event market?

Karen Bolinger: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is now Melbourne’s destination for big ideas and inspirational events. We developed ourselves over the years. We revamped and expanded coming with all best amenities to offer. In 20 years, we did lots of infrastructural works to promote our centre and destination. MCEC is developed to increase city business tourism market; the project facilitated the urban renewal of a former industrial site into an active tourism, mixed-use retail, restaurants, hotel, residential and food-and-beverage zone.


Travel And Tour World – Tell us about the conferences and events you hosted.

Karen Bolinger: At MCEC, we are more passionate about creating environments that inspire. We promote curiosity, creativity and collaboration. These values allow us to deliver exceptional experiences to promote. We did 200 bids overall in a year and won 70% bidding. Our business strategy is to get quality buyers from the world.


Travel And Tour World – Now, I would like to know about your call to global business leaders to take critical action to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace

Karen Bolinger: Sexual harassment in workplace continues to increase globally and we are working hardly to highlight work-culture ethics. Most of the female workers are facing this problem. A group of female CEOs in Melbourne take this and we now coming with how to deal with this issue. It is now the time to take control of the conversation and incite real and lasting change. #NotInMyWorkplace Summit will be held at 12pm – 6.30pm today. We will communicate with more than 760 business leaders to create good working environment at NIMW Summit. Most of the administrational and judicial dignitaries will discuss and present the factual materials on sexual harassment. They will also discuss on how we make a clean work-place environment from sexual harassment.



Travel And Tour World – Tell us some future projects in sustainability sector.

Karen Bolinger: Sustainability is now one of the major parts in this sector. MCEC continues to build on its sustainability qualifications with a wide range of initiatives delivering great outcomes for the venue. We are engaging to find innovative ideas that offer better outcomes for our community, clients and our environmental footprint.


Travel And Tour World – Tell us about the big events or conferences which are in pipeline

Karen Bolinger: We will conduct couples of big events and cultural summits. Most of the programmes are based in healthcare sector. More than 4000 to 5000 delegates will come. MCEC hosts many vibrant events precinct in the spirit of one of the world’s most liveable city. MCEC takes inspiration from the creative, cultural and culinary delights of Melbourne and offer the inspiration, innovation and expertise to create memorable experiences.



Travel And Tour World – Till more hotels are coming in couple of years. Why you need more hotels?

Karen Bolinger: We are hosting so many conferences throughout the year and we face almost 90% hotel occupancy. For this we need more hotels. MCEC is only in Australia to offer onsite accommodations.


Travel And Tour World – Tell me something about 50000 delegates you are hosting in few years, as you mentioned in press conference first day.

Karen Bolinger: It is very massive and huge to us. It is more challenging. We negotiate with hotels as it will be in a peak time. We also need security requirement. We are delivering world-class facility with more functionality, adaptability and aesthetically pleasing. All our events and conferences top with quality and sophistication that reflects the charm of Melbourne.



Travel And Tour World – What makes Melbourne more unique?

Karen Bolinger: Melbourne is a perfect combination of world-class dining, art galleries, contemporary upscale fashion and a packed sports calendar. From business point of view, Melbourne is a very good city. You will get everything here. Melbourne is a beautiful city to live in. You will find best hotels and convention centers. The city has best communication and transportation system. Our business community is very friendly. We have very good team to promote our city. Our Government, convention bureau and tourism board are working collectively to elevate Melbourne s best MICE destination.




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