Impact Publications : MiceBTN_59
Page 4 • MICEBTN - MAY 2015 AUSTRALIA’s Meetings Events Associa- tion (MEA) is seeking industry support to stage a meetings and events show in Sydney later this year to fill a void fol- lowing the cancellation of Inspire Ex. Sydney-based MEA released its offi- cial program and exhibitor details for the show earlier this month, saying it wanted to attract between 80-100 exhibitors for the initial event and if successful, would build from there. Potential exhibitors were offered a two-for-one deal, with buyers taking an exhibition booth at MEA’s annual con- ference in Hamilton Island qualifying for free space at the Sydney show. Developing meetings and events shows from the get-go, particularly in Sydney (where the call goes out every year for a dedicated show for the meet- ings and events industry but tends to run out of support within a short space of time) is not easy, requiring a major in- vestment in resources and commitment. MEA chief executive Linda Gaunt ex- plained the rationale behind the decision. “We have been watching the market for quite some time with the idea of op- erating a specific meetings and events show in Sydney, but there never was space,” said Gaunt. “Last year Inspire Ex folded and we decided to talk with Exhi- bition and Trade Fairs managing director Gary Daly (organiser of Inspire Ex) on why he decided not to continue with the annual event. The reasons he gave did not preclude MEA from trialling a show initially with a one-off event in Sydney in July but with the aim of making it a regular show if we get industry support. “It is really a market test. The show, if it is a success, will become a regular event and may stay in Sydney or go on rotation around Australia depending on participation feedback. The MEA Board is very positive about the move and will be taking on a dedicated conference and exhibition director to manage both the MEA annual confer- ence and the new show in Sydney.” The initial show will be held 01-02 September at Royal Randwick Race- course in new exhibition space. The major sponsor is Saxton Speakers Bureau. MEA also has signed up Executive PA magazine for its corporate database and is working with Royal Randwick to ac- cess its corporate members, identified as the primary market. MEA’s operating costs have been sig- nificant in recent years, mainly through setting up its Events Academy, which took a toll on reserves. The Events Acad- emy has been a success and is profita- ble therefore it will use this registered training associate, a division of MEA to fund the meetings and events show at Randwick. Gaunt said she was also getting good support from major sponsors Randwick and ExpoNet. “Creating a show from scratch is not easy,” said Gaunt. “Our major sponsors realise this and have been generous in supporting the event. The show itself is a not-for profit exercise and we aim to keep costs for exhibitors and buyers as low as practicable. Early indications are a booth cost of around A$3000 which in today’s market is more than reasonable, especially for Sydney, which is the num- ber one market in Australia for meetings and events. It also opens up the field so that we attract a good mix of exhibition product at all levels.” The Association has also turned around its membership numbers after experiencing falls in the last couple of years. Linda Gaunt MEA seeks industry backing for a new Sydney show - and it could go national on rotation Royal Randwick exhibition space: Strong support for new MiCE show. Continued page 22.