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AIME serves up popular welcome event

About 1,200 visitors kick off Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) in major events-themed party

Pictured: Dessert was served up on tennis rackets, in a nod to the Australian Open

Melbourne put a new spin on its Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) welcome party, using themes from the city's major events to entertain 1,400 visitors.

Desserts were served up, literally, on tennis rackets in a nod to the Australian Open while surfers and lifeguards worked the room, representative of the Bells Beach Surfing Classic.

It was part of AIME's welcome party on Monday evening, a highly-anticipated event that is largely kept secret until days before. Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) CEO Karen Bolinger said: "It's our opportunity to showcase Melbourne not only to hosted buyers and visitors but also to the rest of the industry. We're renowned for delivering a better event each year, so the pressure is on and it's difficult to sit down and think 'what haven't we done' that still showcases Melbourne."

Other Melbourne-based major events to be showcased in the One Year in One Night theme included the Melbourne Cup and Grand Prix.

The venue, 400 City Road, was chosen by the MCB after its recent renovations. Bolinger said while it restricted the number of attendees, which have been as much as 2,000 in the past, it fitted with what the bureau wanted.

"It was a little bit unique and a little bit funky and it has amazing audio-visual. We thought it was perfect to showcase Melbourne with," Bolinger said.

Guests were wowed with a short performance that included classical singing of modern songs, dancers and video excerpts taken from major Melbourne events.

The menu, by Atlantic Group, was designed to reflect Melbourne's cultural mix. It included an Asian-inspired section; fish and chips boxes, and an evolving buffet that was updated with new foods as the night progressed.

Bolinger said feedback from attendees was very positive. "We changed it a bit last year and had it at the end of the show, but after listening to feedback we decided to bring it back to the first night," she added. "I've not heard any negative feedback at all which is fantastic. It's really interesting how important this event is seen among people."

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