Australian government minister opens AIME 2009February 17, 2009 By: Ian Whiteling, Joint Editorin Chief
The Hon Tim Pallas MP, Minister for Major Projects and Minister for Roads and Ports, officially opened AIME 09, the 17th Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo, this morning in Melbourne, before a large audience.
During his opening remarks the Minister drew attention to the recent bushfires in Victoria that had caused a disaster for the State on a scale never believed possible.
“Since this tragedy unfolded, Australians have banded together to do what they do best – dig deep and support the victims affected by the Bushfires,” he said. “The generosity displayed by Australians and others demonstrate the great spirit and generosity of our country.”
Chief executive of the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB), Sandra Chipchase, also called on exhibitors and media at AIME to support the Bushfire victims by making a gold coin donation at the Melbourne and Victoria exhibition stands.
“On behalf of the chairman and the Board of MCVB, Reed Travel Exhibitions and the Regional Victoria Conference Group, I ask you to support our Bushfire Appeal in support of the work of the Red Cross,” she said.
In declaring AIME 2009 open, the Minister said that the business events industry had an important role to play in the Victorian economy.
“With government support, the city continues to attract a growing number and size of business events, particularly in the high profile areas of medicine and science,” he said.
“Melbourne’s reputation as a world leader in this industry continues to increase as a result of the city’s superior infrastructure such as the new Convention Centre which is due to open in July.”
Paul Kennedy MBE, group exhibition director, Meetings & Incentives Events at Reed Travel Exhibitions, which organises the exhibition, said that AIME had set a new record with exhibitor numbers, totalling 868 across 55 countries. More than 200 of these were new to AIME this year.
“Given the state of the economic environment, these are wonderful results. Buyer numbers are expected to be similar to last year and already, many exhibitors have commented on the high quality of the buyers this year,” he said.
AIME 2009 is taking place today and tomorrow (17-18 February) at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.