The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) recently held its first ‘Centrestage Update’ customer briefing, saying the lifting of restrictions around Australia and in particular in the southern capital, points to a bright outlook for 2022.
PacPrint organiser Visual Connections said the news was overwhelmingly good for the upcoming tradeshow that will take place at the MCEC, with all signs pointing to the MCEC holding numerous events well before Christmas and expecting a big lift in both the number of events, and the venue’s capacity limits, from March and April next year.
MCEC chief executive Peter King, COO Helen Fairclough, chief communications officer Melissa Sweetland and senior manager for security and safety Darren Horne brought event organisers up to date with the latest developments, as well as the outlook from government and health authorities.
While the pandemic had created an undeniably difficult landscape for the venue, King said his team had used the time wisely, adding expertise and capabilities, expanding and revising its management structure, and investing in new digital tools and technologies to make it even more agile and customer-focused.
There is no question, he said, that venues are on the way back to full capacity, with the MCEC positioned more strongly than most due to positive discussions with Government which could see it designated a ‘venue of significance’ – leading to an expedited easing of restrictions. An announcement on that is expected soon.
Heading in the right direction
Visual Connections events manager Jenny Harris said the outlook should give confidence to everyone making plans to travel to Melbourne for the shows.
“The indications from government are very clear that we will be moving to lift a whole suite of restrictions into 2022 as we work towards living safely with COVID-19,” she said following the meeting,” she said.
“Already, the MCEC is hosting successful events, and we would expect that things will look almost back to normal by the time PacPrint rolls around mid-year.
“Regardless of restriction changes, however, the MCEC is now well-versed in providing a COVID-safe environment with contactless check in and payment systems across the venue, clear signage and floor decals, more than 100 sanitiser stations and plenty of COVID marshals to enforce capacity limits and social distancing.
“Other risk mitigation strategies include things like revised cleaning schedules and a new return-air HVAC system, which pushes 100 per cent fresh air into an indoor space, lifting the air quality to essentially on par with outdoor spaces.”
With virtual and hybrid event elements also being facilitated, the physical spaces within the MCEC complex being reimagined with greater access to outdoor areas and the new 2000m2 rooftop Skyfarm now available for event organisers, Harris is optimistic for the success of the tradeshow.
“We have an excellent relationship with the team at the MCEC and are working closely with them, with our other partners, and with well over 60 exhibitors as we confidently prepare for the shows to open from June 28 to July 1, 2022,” Harris added.
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