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Collaborative effort a winner for Melbourne

A City-wide approach has helped Melbourne, Australia to win the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) International Congress in 2007. It will be the first time the 5,000-plus delegate…

A City-wide approach has helped Melbourne, Australia to win the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) International Congress in 2007. It will be the first time the 5,000-plus delegate Congress has been held in Australia.

A number of organizations worked together behind the scenes to help secure this event for Melbourne, said Garry Kingshott, CEO, Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB).

Our objective was to facilitate WPA requirements by bringing together those organizations within Melbourne that could support this major congress. Our collaborative approach involved not only the Bureau and the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC), but also the City of Melbourne, Destination Melbourne, Melbourne Airport, Metlink and SmartVisit Australia, he said.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) will be the local host body. CEO of RANZCP, Sharon Brownie, said the College was delighted to have the opportunity to host this event in Melbourne.

The mandate for the conference is to provide opportunities for fellows and members of our own college to participate in an event where scientific content and global exchange of information will boost collaborative research and allow them to develop in their field, Ms Brownie said.

Holding the Congress in Australia will help strengthen networks between our members, particularly in the Asia Pacific, and make psychiatry more visible in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

With the MCVB, the MECC and the City of Melbourne working together to underpin this event it will be highly successful,
she said.

Mr Kingshott said the flexibility shown by the management and staff of the MECC in order to facilitate this event has been outstanding.

The MECC will use its multi-purpose floor space at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to facilitate the specific meeting requirements for the WPA International Congress. This is only possible because the congress is taking place at the end of November when few exhibitions take place.

The exhibition centre is currently almost fully utilised for nine and a half months of the year and an innovative solution will be used to accommodate the large number of congress delegates. This will include the construction of a 5,000-seat plenary hall with tiered seating, dedicated trade exhibition, poster display and daily catering areas all of which will be contained within 15,000 square metres of floor space.

The development of the new convention centre scheduled to open in late 2008 will enable Melbourne to reach its full potential both in international and national conventions and exhibitions which it is not able to do currently because of existing infrastructure constraints across the two non integrated facilities.

The collaborative City-wide support package includes promotional and marketing support to attract delegates, Official Visitors Guides, Melbourne maps, shopping and dining guides, special transport arrangements at Melbourne airport, a reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and discounts on SmartVisit Cards and MetCards.