BCEC Brief: December 2021

Exterior image of BCEC from Grey Street


As we wrap up another challenging 12 months, we look forward to 2022 with growing optimism, as confidence rebuilds on the back of increased activity and strong future bookings.

We expect to host over 500 events in the first half of 2022 which include conferences, exhibitions, corporate functions and meetings, concerts and other ticketed events.

What has been most encouraging is a noticeable desire for the return of face to face events, a trend that was evident back in May and June prior to lockdowns in other states. These lockdowns disrupted the national events sector, but that sentiment is now well and truly back. This was apparent from the busy calendar of events leading up to the end of the year and into 2022.

The Centre finishes the year having hosted 572 events, 190 of those in the final quarter alone. It was wonderful to see the industry getting back to business with the Queensland Tourism Awards – just one of 20 award celebrations held at the Centre leading up to December.

Our team also continues to ensure future business for the Centre and for Brisbane, collaborating with our convention partners on specific bids, successfully securing 59 conventions this calendar year across many of Queensland’s key sectors including, medical research, allied health, technology, transport and engineering.

Having previously been voted World’s Best Convention Centre in the prestigious International Association of Congress Centres survey, we were thrilled to have maintained our leadership position, named runner-up in the latest survey results for 2020 – 2022.

We were also very honoured to have been recognised by our industry taking home three awards at the annual Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) National Awards: Event Venue – capacity more than 1500, Banqueting & Catering and Event Legacy.

It’s not just about business, we were very pleased to connect with our community in meaningful ways. In this Newsletter you will find out about the Centre’s partnerships with organisations including The Common Good which funds life-changing medical research, and some young dynamos doing their part for the future of the environment.

The Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games is already on our agenda, with the BCEC having been announced as the venue for several of the Olympic events. We have also set up an Olympic Task Force to research related events and potential legacies and the impact of the Games on the city and the Centre.

We continue to steadfastly support the rollout of the Queensland Government’s COVID Vaccination Plan and are pleased to assist in this with hosting of one the largest and busiest vaccination hubs in the state.

To date more than 280,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered at the Centre over the 124 days allowing the state to reach that 80% double vaccinated target and easing of restrictions.

From December 17 BCEC will be operating at 100% capacity while adhering to the Queensland Health Direction that only fully vaccinated persons are able to attend events at the venue.

On behalf of the BCEC Team I would like to acknowledge the support of our many loyal clients and colleagues, as we continue to navigate our road to recovery and wish you all a happy and safe festive season.

Best Regards,

Signature Robert O’Keeffe (AM)

Robert O’Keeffe (AM)
General Manager, BCEC

Chef Keiron Anderson with Chef David Pugh holding a plate of food

Palm hearts from Innisfail (Mamu) crab from Fraser Island (K’Gari – Butchulla) and mackerel from Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) were highlights of a unique menu at a dinner celebrating a year of Indigenous Tourism.

Quandamooka Chef, Kieron Anderson, a Quandamooka and Kullilli man, teamed up with BCEC’s award winning Executive Chef, David Pugh to showcase First Nation’s produce to an enthusiastic and delighted audience attending the Destination Indigenous Queensland Forum.

Kieron Anderson who is a classically trained Chef, created his company Yalabin Dining as a means of sharing traditional practices and knowledge through food.

On a journey to bring First Nations food to our palate, the Quandamooka Chef is taking advantage of increased interest in these flavoursome and nutritious foods, to give guests a powerful and insightful overview of what these foods mean to First Nations caretakers.

Executive Chef David Pugh who described the culinary collaboration as a great success said the Centre was currently incorporating more native produce into menus and highlighted the opportunity to integrate bush tucker into bespoke menus for the Centre’s Plaza Gallery, home to one of Australia’s most significant collections of Indigenous art.

Bush Foods are well and truly on the menu with David Pugh also invited to be a guest judge at the recent University of Queensland Bush Foods Master Chef event. Professor Melissa Fitzgerald, Chair in Food Science and Tech, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at The University of Queensland (UQ) filled David in on the extensive work they are doing in the area of Australian Bush Foods and has invited David back again next year.

David, along with Indigenous judges Dale Chapman, Tracey Bunda and Bronwyn Fredericks, helped make the event a resounding success as they sampled the products and foods developed as part of assessment in UQ’s Bushfood course that runs in the Faculty of Science.

CEO of the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, Michael Hornby, pictured with BCEC General Manager Bob O’Keeffe and the Centre’s Executive Pastry Chef, Matthew Arnold

The last-minute cancellation of this year’s Royal Queensland Show ‘The Brisbane Ekka’ left The Common Good, an initiative of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, with 22 tonnes of ice cream and 5 tonnes of strawberries in the freezer, effectively ending its major annual fundraising event before it even began.

BCEC was pleased to provide an alternative venue offering the charity an outlet at the entrance to the Centre. The do-it-yourself sundaes tempted those heading to and from the South Bank Vaccination Hub, located in one of the Centre’s Exhibition Halls.

Centre staff were so impressed by The Common Good’s extraordinary efforts to pivot the fundraising campaign, they decided to make a donation.

The donation was funded through the Centre’s participation in the Containers for Change Scheme, which allows it to give back to selected charitable and social enterprise organisations – an example of circular economy activity on the part of BCEC.

CEO of the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, Michael Hornby, pictured with BCEC General Manager Bob O’Keeffe and the Centre’s Executive Pastry Chef, Matthew Arnold, one of the main drivers behind the Containers for Change participation, said: “The team at BCEC was amazing, not only helping us to save our Strawberry Sundaes program, but the additional show of generosity of their donation from the Containers for Change initiative will ensure that our brilliant researchers can continue their life-saving work.”

As a result of the Brisbane wide campaign, 90,000 Strawberry Sundaes were sold powering 5,625 hours of medical research into heart disease, lung diseases, dementia and mental health.

BCEC continues to ensure future business for the Centre and for Brisbane, successfully securing 59 conferences this calendar year across many of Queensland’s key sectors including medical research, allied health, science, technology, transport and engineering.

These future events are expected to bring more than 35,000 delegates and 160,000 hotel bed nights to the city.

The most recent was The International Population Conference for 2,000 delegates in 2025. Considered the world’s most important conference on the wide-reaching topic of population, it is also the first time this event has been held in Australia since the very first conference was held in Paris in 1928.

Organised every four years by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), the six-day conference is expected to generate $7.2million in direct economic spend for Queensland.

The team at the Centre partnered with the Australian Population Association, together with partners Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia and Brisbane Economic Development Agency.

Queensland Tourism Awards Dinner close up of the presenters on stage

Queensland’s tourism industry took to the stage with their recent gala awards, celebrating their extraordinary achievements in the face of COVID-19.

We were excited to welcome more than 1,000 tourism operators and guests from across the state to a special evening of wine, food and great entertainment. A proud Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk was on hand to applaud a total of 81 award recipients across 31 categories including a new award for Innovation and Resilience won by Brisbane based ‘Fun over Fifty’ offering all inclusive holidays for the over 50’s, including eco tours.

The Queensland Tourism Awards was one of 20 award events held at the Centre in the lead up to the end of the year along with the 26th Queensland Sport Awards and Hall of Fame for 620 guests and the 49th Annual HIA-CSR Queensland Housing Awards, with 760 attendees.

BCEC staff member standing in an empty exhibition hall adjusting lights while film maker Dean Saffron captures the process

Earlier this year, the Centre achieved EarthCheck Platinum status, joining an elite group of worldwide venues all operating at the very highest levels of environmental standards.

The accreditation is the result of 10 years of rigorously audited best practice sustainability and the Centre’s strong leadership and innovation in several key areas of social and environmental actions.

We believe sustainability is essential for success in today’s meetings and events industries, so much so, we have produced our first environmental video with the working title, ‘A Sustainable Day at BCEC’, now at the editing stage.

The video tells the story of the Centre’s sustainable journey, highlighting our most successful initiatives including: the installation of solar panels on our Grey Street Building with plans for additional panels in the future; the installation of new LED lighting within the Centre’s Exhibition Halls with daylight harvesting resulting in a 50% reduction in energy demand for the Exhibition Centre; and the installation of LED sensor controlled lighting in the Centre’s Car Parks producing an energy saving in excess of 75%.

The video features our team led by Ian Chalmers, Facilities Director, known as Captain Greenpeace for his tireless efforts to make the Centre’s operations as sustainable as possible.

We look forward to sharing the video with you early in the New Year.

Tangalooma EcoMarine Ambassors in the Centre's Plaza Auditorium

BCEC is proud to partner with Tangalooma EcoMarines in delivering a unique education program aimed at nurturing environmental leaders of the future.

The concept of the EcoMarines movement originated in Tangalooma on Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world, which is located just an hour’s boat cruise from Brisbane in the picturesque Moreton Bay Marine Park.

The EcoMarine program this year reached over 310,000 members of the community in their quest to preserve the pristine waters of Moreton Bay.

EcoMarine ambassadors learn to care for the waterways of south east Queensland, which impact on the marine habitat and wildlife population of Brisbane’s spectacular Moreton Bay, through both education and action.

The Centre recently hosted the group’s The Wave, for 500 budding environmentalists for the fifth year in succession. The aptly named event provides the enthusiastic students the opportunity to showcase the many projects they have worked on during the year.

Prepay online and park stress free

The Centre has introduced a new online booking system for car parking. There are 1500 easy to access undercover parking spaces, multiple entry points, on site security, and 24/7 access in the heart of South Bank Cultural Precinct and an easy walk across the river to the city centre.

BCEC is now a cashless venue

To ensure the health and safety of our guests, BCEC has adopted contactless payment methods throughout the Centre and encourages event organisers to follow our lead, using contactless ticketing measures.
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