Centre will add to existing facilities

THE opening of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (PCEC) in 2004 will further complement and enhance Perth’s existing conference and exhibition infrastructure and services, according to Perth Convention Bureau managing director Anne-Maree Ferguson. This sentiment is being echoed by providers of small to medium convention and exhibition facilities, such as the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Burswood Resort and Rendezvous Observation City Hotel.

The PCEC is viewed by these businesses not necessarily as a competitor, but more as a vehicle that will attract and target conventions and exhibitions of a size that cannot currently be catered for in Perth. They believe that, by working co-operatively with the PCEC, they can ensure that the industry continues to grow in WA.

Burswood Resort public relations manager Julie Cameron believes the development of the PCEC is an opportunity for WA to grow its share of the national and international (MICE) market. She said this market growth would benefit the tourism industry as well as all of the State’s convention and exhibition businesses.

“As Perth’s largest hospitality provider, Burswood will benefit from ongoing flow-on effects from large international conventions held at the PCEC,” Ms Cameron said.

But the PCEC inevitably does mean more competition for providers of small to medium-sized facilities, as conference and exhibition event organisers will be attracted to the new, custom-made venue.

However, many of these small to medium-sized facilities have the advantage of being attached to three, four and five-star hotels. They can offer, therefore, the added benefit of providing a complete venue, accommodation and catering package and, as such, they will remain an attractive option for organisers of conventions and exhibitions.

These businesses also can expect the likelihood of considerable flow-on effects from associated businesses, such as entertainment and social functions that will be generated by an increase in the number of delegates and visitors to large events held at the PCEC.

Rendezvous Observation City Hotel public relations and marketing manager Krys Sanchez said the hotel would remain a major banquet, conference and incentive destination, but also would be looking for opportunities to attract more associated business through accommodation for major events held at the PCEC when it opened.

The PCB is working hard to promote WA as a premier destination for conferences and exhibitions and the addition of the PCEC to the venue market is helping its cause. The PCB is awaiting decisions on 29 conference bids, attracting an estimated 24,000 delegates, representing $44 million in direct expenditure.

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