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Melbourne secures largest conference ever

World’s happiest and most liveable city to welcome 20,000 delegates for major international gathering in 2023.

Melbourne has been chosen as the host city for the 2023 Rotary International Convention, a massive gathering expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors.

The convention is the most valuable conference ever won for the state, expected to attract 20,000 Rotary members from more than 200 countries and regions worldwide and injecting more than AU$88 million (US$63 million) into the Victorian economy.

The bid, led by Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and supported by the Victorian and Australian Governments, had stiff international competition, but MCB successfully demonstrated the city’s ability to accommodate the specific needs of Rotary delegates and its convention format.

MCB chief executive officer, Karen Bolinger, said: “Victoria is a world-leader in the business events sector, and we intentionally pursue events of this size and scale as they deliver significant benefit back to the State, as well as create further bidding opportunities from other worldwide associations that hold numerous major international conferences.”

She added: “The MCB’s strong connections and collaboration with government and local suppliers – its ‘whole-of-city’ approach to winning and delivering events in Melbourne – provides invaluable support to Victoria’s visitor economy.”

Rotary International president, Barry Rassin, said he is excited to host the organisation’s 114th international convention in Melbourne.

“Recently named the happiest city in the world and known for its diversity, Melbourne is a reflection of the enthusiasm and internationality of Rotary members.”

He added: “Our members in Melbourne have worked hard to make the world a better place, from redistributing surplus fresh food to community food programs around Australia, to their goal of immunising 100,000 children in nine Pacific countries.”

The Rotary International Convention is expected to create millions of dollars in economic spinoffs, including the most significant room block in Melbourne’s history for hotels guaranteeing high occupancy levels for up to 50 properties across Melbourne during the off-peak winter season.

Convention events will be hosted across two venues – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne & Olympic Parks. 

MCEC CEO, Peter King, said the he is “excited by the community legacy outcomes that result from these large significant events. Business events deliver visitation and investment to our city like no other activity”.