Melbourne Convention Bureau Launches “First Peoples Engagement Guide”

The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has announced the launch of its “First Peoples Engagement Guide,” a resource aimed at assisting event planners in creating culturally enriching business events and fostering positive social impact. The introductory guide is aimed at the business events industry and includes practical information about when and how to organize a “Welcome to Country” or “Acknowledgement of Country,” a curated “Indigenous Business Events Supplier Guide” and tips on how to put the guide into practice.

Speaking at this year’s Asia Pacific Incentives and Meeting Event (AIME), which was held February 19-21, MCB CEO Julia Swanson said, “Event planners are increasingly seeking to integrate First Peoples-led suppliers into their programs, recognizing the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the social outcomes of Victoria’s First Peoples and their future generations.

“Melbourne and Victoria boast thousands of years of Aboriginal culture, providing a profound backdrop to enrich delegate experiences. By incorporating Indigenous-owned and operated suppliers into a business event program, it not only celebrates this cultural heritage but also positively impacts the social fabric of Victoria’s First Peoples and contributes to the well-being of future generations."

The “First Peoples Engagement Guide” highlights local talent and Indigenous-owned and led businesses poised to elevate business events with cultural richness and diversity. From professionals credited to conduct “Acknowledgements of Country” to caterers offering native fusion cuisine and merchandising suppliers contributing to “Social Impact Funds,” the guide equips planners with the tools to create a range of business events. Planners will be inspired by the sample incentive itineraries included that integrate Victoria’s Indigenous history, culture and contemporary experience.

National Indigenous Culinary Institute at AIME 2023_Melbourne Convention Bureau
National Indigenous Culinary Institute at AIME 2023 (Melbourne Convention Bureau)

MCB aims for the guide to be a regular reference tool for business event planners as well as delivering lasting legacies. It supports the bureau’s sustainability strategy and aligns with “Experience Victoria 2033,” the destination’s strategic plan to shape the future of the visitor economy over the next 10 years, empowering First Peoples community in the tourism and events sectors, and offering diverse, First Peoples-led experiences.

Swanson added, “International associations hosting their conference in Melbourne can learn how to respect local traditions and discover easy ways to increase their social impact outcomes, support their company’s sustainability policy or for Australian organizations, their company’s ‘Reconciliation Action Plan initiatives.’

“Corporate meeting and incentive planners will find inspiring speakers and outstanding entertainment for their gala welcome event or use the guide to discover meaningful, culture-rich experiences to infuse into their itinerary,” she added.

While MCB encourages the use of Indigenous event suppliers, it also partners with over 120-plus suppliers including hotels, venues, PCO’s, transport providers, tour operators, and more. MCB will continue to update to the supplier directory and provide ongoing sources of inspiration for business event planners in the future.

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