Mackay Makes Invaluable Canberra Connection
The Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC) recently headed to Canberra to spread the word about the benefits of meeting in regional Australia, along with news of additions to the city’s business events portfolio.
The Centre, which has capacity to seat up to 1500 delegates, was recently awarded top spot in the ‘Business Event Venue’ category at the Mackay Tourism Awards held in early October. Operated by the Mackay Regional Council, it also has a remit to promote the broader Mackay Region for business events and operates as the city’s convention bureau.
Canberra-based associations and PCOs were invited along to “Parlour”, a charming venue located in the city’s historic NewActon cultural precinct, where they networked and enjoyed a presentation from the MECC’s Nicky Hansen. Guests included Andrew Hiebl, CEO of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) and also Barry Neame, President of the Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCOA).
Along with the presentation, the welcome cocktail also sent positive messages about the region, featuring rum from the award-winning Sarina Sugar Shed along with tropical fruits representative of North Queensland. Gift bags provided to attendees also included delectable Mango Rum Liqueur Fudge and Sugar Shed jam.
Highlighting the calibre of attendees, a number of proposal requests and site visit requests were the pleasing result of Mackay’s first visit to the nation’s capital.
Nicky Hansen, Sales & Business Development Coordinator with the MECC noted that regional destinations were coming into their own in Australia, with the positive feed-back from the event attendees indicating many associations were now including regional venues in their rotation mix. “We believe our centre offers the required capacity and expertise, coupled with impressive nearby accommodation options, interesting off-site function venues and local financial and in-kind support,” she said. “Strong surging business and industry sectors such as agribusiness, mining and engineering add ‘sweeteners’ to Mackay’s proposition, as does the support of venues like the Sarina Sugar Shed.”
New venues in town include the refurbished 250-guest cocktail area at the Rydges Mackay Grand Suites and its new informal dining venue, “Moss on Wood”, located in Wood Street in Mackay’s city centre. On the city’s expansive Bluewater Quay, the new “Ashtart” provides a waterfront venue and Mediterranean cuisine. And a little further afield some 15 minutes west of Mackay, the Note Park Grazing Company is providing a range of new off-site venues on its property, with capacity for 50 guests through to 200.
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About Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre
The MECC has multiple spaces including a 1090-seat auditorium and two plenary halls with capacity to seat 1500 delegates theatre-style or 800 guests banquet style. In addition, there are four meeting rooms, a 100-seat studio space, two foyers, and a selection of break-out rooms. The Convention Centre Precinct also includes the contemporary Artspace regional art gallery, expansive Civic Lawns and the Mackay City Library. All offer additional break-out meeting rooms and alternative function options.
The Mackay Region sits halfway between Brisbane and Cairns in Queensland, offering a relaxed regional city, serviced by 65+ weekly flights. The 1000 seat MECC convention centre is enhanced by a portfolio of more than 1000 rooms within walking distance, along with amazing rooftop venues with panoramic views of the blue-water river and ocean. The Mackay Region’s growth is fuelled by the boom in the mining industry in the Bowen Basin, resurgence in agribusiness, growth in tourism and an emerging marine sector. It is the largest sugar-producing area in Australia and nearly a third of Queensland’s export goods originate from the Mackay region.