Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre - building a bright future for the visitor economy

Published: 4 Feb 2022

Delivering for Victoria / Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre Transcript

Brett Ince, Executive Director - Tourism Greater Geelong & The Bellarine

The Geelong Convention Exhibition Centre it’s very multi-purposed.

So when you think about conventions up to a thousand people with that thousand plenary, but it’s also very adaptive, that you’ll be able to have different people use the space in different ways.

[Vision: Artist impression of the inside of the convention centre]

The 200 room luxury hotel is a significant opportunity for the region.

It’ll be very complementary to the centre, but what’s really important about today is the fact that that additional $120m will also drive the revitalisation of the western beach precinct of the waterfront.

[Vision: View of the waterfront and people walking along the concourse, statues]

We know that that will connect delegates, visitors, people that are using the centre with the waterfront, and it’s such an iconic location so we’re really, really excited about that.

[Vision: Close-up view of the statues and waterfront with fishermen fishing off pier. Expanded view of the statues with the waterfront behind. Man kayaking and views of the beach and waterfront]

We’re really blessed with the way in which we’ve got so many different experiences in the region.

[Vision: Cyclist riding along concourse. View of Geelong CBD showing café and waterfront and yachts. View of entrance to Avalon Airport and planes]

The nature experiences, the food and wine experiences, the way that Geelong CBD is transforming, the waterfront of Geelong, and we’re also blessed by the fact that we have Avalon Airport too, so the fact that we have those connections to interstate.

[Vision: View of the waterfront and ferris wheel, people playing volley ball on the beach and rollerblading. View of yachts moored and people walking along the concourse]

So, our summer peak period is through that sort of December, January, February, and what we do throughout the year is really try and drive other visitation sets, and business travel, and business visitation is one of those.

What you do find with business events travellers or business travellers in general is that they do spend more in the region, so they’re high-yielding visitors.

[Vision: Overall view of the waterfront and yachts]

This will be an absolute game-changer for the region.

[This project is funded as part of the Geelong City Deal. Australian Government. Victoria State Government Australia. City of Greater Geelong]

[Victoria State Government / Delivering for Victoria. Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne]

Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.

When it comes to identifying reasons to visit Geelong and the Bellarine, you would be hard-pressed to find a stronger advocate than Brett Ince, Executive Director of Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine.

Having grown up in Geelong, Brett recalls working on plans for a local convention and exhibition centre when his career began 18 years ago.

It’s understandable then that Brett was thrilled when the Victorian Government recently announced the location for the future Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre, along with extra funding for the project.

Brett explained, “the Centre will be an absolute game changer for the region. It will drive off peak, mid-week visitation to complement leisure visitation along our coastline.”

Considered one of the most important developments in regional Victoria, the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre will be fittingly located on city’s waterfront, with construction due to commence early in 2022.

The $294 million Centre is funded through the Geelong City Deal – a 10-year plan by the Victorian Government, Commonwealth Government and City of Greater Geelong to revitalise Geelong and unlock the potential of the Great Ocean Road visitor economy.

It will include a 1000-seat plenary venue along with 3,700 square metres of flexible multipurpose space to accommodate a range of events of all sizes.

For Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine, attracting more visitors to the region for business events is key to ensuring the region recovers after a couple of “extremely challenging” years.

Already, a $400,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Regional Recovery Fund for a Business Events Attraction Project has resulted in 30 business events being booked over the next 12-18 months, and they are looking forward to the Centre’s completion to increase what is on offer.

“If we didn’t have the business events or business travel sector, we’d be highly seasonal”, said Brett. Business visitors offer many benefits: “they’re staying for multi days, they’re mid-week, they’re off peak and, in general, they spend more in the region.”

Growing the region’s visitor economy is a key consideration behind the Victorian Government’s $261 million investment in the Geelong Convention and Exhibition, with the newly announced $120 million going towards the development of a 200-room luxury hotel and to revitalise the nearby waterfront.

Brett welcomes the extra funds: “Geelong has lacked a hotel of that calibre and scale, and the additional investment will also revitalise the western beach precinct, which was needed.”

With such a diverse range of experiences on offer – from nature, food and wine, the Geelong CBD and waterfront, to the coastal villages of the Bellarine – the new Centre will mean many more visitors will come to enjoy the region in the future.

“Long term investment is strong in the visitor economy and this additional $120 million from the State Government for the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre will drive absolute change in terms of private investment,” said Brett. “We know that it is a bright future for the region.”

Page last updated 21 Jun 2022
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