Melbourne shines for hosted buyers at AIME

Kumal Amritkar, one of AIME's hosted buyers, checking out the showfloor

Melbourne has been showcased as a top destination for incentive and corporate events at AIME 2023, which welcomed more than 400 hosted buyers this year, returning it to its pre-pandemic levels of delegate attendance.

First-time hosted buyers were impressed with the city’s offerings, particularly its unique food experiences and special venues.

Kumal Amritkar, one of AIME’s hosted buyers, checking out the showfloor

Kumal Amritkar, director of India-based incentives agency TripHobo, praised Melbourne’s diversity. “I’d say there’s nothing Melbourne doesn’t have on offer,” he said, although he qualified that the city often came third after the Gold Coast and Sydney as destination choices for his incentive clients.

“I made a private trip to the Great Ocean Road which was very beautiful and I can see Melbourne is well connected by trams and trains. My clients are keen on city tours and adventure activities. There’s skydiving here, Phillip Island, and watersports activities so I am definitely recommending this to my clients,” he continued.

Principal of PD strategy and transformation at AIA Berhad Malaysia, Moon Ong, was impressed by Melbourne’s gastronomic tour, which included the opportunity to sample crocodile meat and take a helicopter ride to a vineyard.

“These are some of the unique experiences that would work great to attract and motivate our top achievers, and we have 100 of them,” she said. She also praised AIME’s Welcome Event at Marvel Stadium and highlighted Melbourne’s special venues, such as the State Library.

Huyen Nguyen, founder of DCEO Travel One from Ho Chi Minh City, noted that her clients are looking for “calmer” cities like Melbourne post-pandemic. Having visited the city several times, she said Melbourne has continuously improved its visitor offering over the years.

Melbourne Convention Bureau CEO Julia Swanson said that the feedback from Asian clients is that corporate meetings and incentives are definitely bouncing back.

“It’s a strong market. They’re really keen to get their sellers back together and create those reward programs, which have been a bit ad hoc during the pandemic,” she told TTGmice.

“We don’t roll out standard programmes for everyone. We really curate and manage bespoke programmes. We will continue to innovate in that (aspect), which will keep us on our toes. The main theme we’re all focused on (now) is rebuilding that aviation capacity, because that’s the remaining challenge all destinations are facing. And there are a lot of people working across Visit Victoria, the state government and Melbourne Airport who are working quite closely to bring that aviation back,” she added.

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