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Meetings movers tip growth to continue

THE transport sector supporting WA’s convention industry is growing comfortably but waiting with bated breath for the completion of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

However, industry players do not expect a return to the business activity of that halcyon week several years ago when Perth hosted the international oil and gas industry conference, LNG 12.

That event put a huge strain on Perth’s convention transport infrastructure.

Limousine operators were hardest hit. Reports abounded of cars being brought across from the eastern states to help meet the demand.

Astra Limousines director Crawford Thomas said there were “not enough cars in Perth” to cover that event.

“If we had one of those sort of events each year it would be fantastic,” he said.

Large coach operators such as Feature Tours and Swan Gold Charter Tours believe the PCEC will give their operations a huge boost.

They also feel Perth’s transport infrastructure has grown since LNG 12.

Feature Tours managing director and inaugural WA Business News 40under40 First Amongst Equals winner, Manny Papadoulis, admitted LNG 12 had been a huge strain.

“But we pulled it off,” Mr Papadoulis said.

“The PCEC should get us back up to the levels of business we had before the Asian financial collapse.”

Swan Gold Charter Tours managing director Maurice Silvestri said the PCEC would give the transport industry a good chance to expand.

“The industry is going along pretty strong at the moment without the centre,” Mr Silvestri said.

However, Mr Thomas believes large coaches, rather than limousines, would benefit from the centre.

“Our convention work is much more based around small private company meetings than the big conventions,” he said.

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