Source = ETB News: L.B. “This success is largely due to the fact that Melbourne will be the first city in the world to host three of the largest and most prestigious health-related conferences in the space of a year,” Ms Bolinger said. Furthermore, the World Congress of Cardiology will see 9,000 delegates come to Melbourne this May, followed by more than 14,000 delegates in July for the 20th International AIDS Conference. By 2020, the value of business events to the Australian economy will rise to AUD $31 billion. As the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) wrapped up for yet another year in Melbourne yesterday, the city is now halfway through its two most successful years on record of hosting international conferences, well and truly living up to its status as Austrasia’s leading meetings and conference destination. Speaking at AIME this week, Melbourne Convention Bureau chief executive officer Karen Bolinger said that in 2013 and 2014, the number of events choosing Melbourne as their host city had risen by 37 percent, delegate numbers grew by more than 50 percent and the economic profit increased by over a third compared to 2011 and 2012. “In addition to our conference facilities and connections with government and suppliers, international associations are attracted to Melbourne because of our world-leading knowledge centres and the brain power they harbour, providing conference organisers with the opportunity to collaborate with our researchers and academics to create rich content and attract preeminent speakers to drive delegate attendance.” With almost 40 percent of conferences from the medical or health industry, Melbourne is the nation’s knowledge centre, offering delegates world-leading facilities, exposure to innovation and access to a high level of key note speakers. “As most major international conferences are held every two years at a minimum and are on a regional rotation with hundreds of cities to choose from, it is very unlikely that any other city in the world will ever be able to emulate this feat.” In December 2013, Melbourne hosted the largest medical Congress in the country, the 22nd World Diabetes Congress, welcoming over 10,000 delegates and contributing around AUD $63 million to the state’s economy. By the end of this year, Melbourne will have hosted 70 international conferences, bringing in more than 85,000 delegates and generating almost AUD $420 million into the state’s economy.