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Brisbane launches post-G20 campaign

Queensland capital reveals plans to increase international conferences by 8 per cent, after its 2014 hosting of G20

Pictured: Brisbane's waterfront project, Queen's Wharf, will include 1,100 hotel rooms and 50 bars and restaurants.

Brisbane Convention Bureau has revealed multi-billion dollar plans to build on its G20 success, as it targets an 8 per cent increase on international conferences and a place in the top 50 International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) rankings.

The Queensland capital has set ambitious targets as part of its 2022 Action Plan, largely supported by a massive $3 billion (1.5GBP) development called Queen's Wharf Brisbane which will begin construction in 2018.

The bureau says it wants to increase international conference numbers to 40 each year (up from 37 in 2015) and improve its current ICCA ranking of 67. One of Brisbane's major events on the calendar is the World Science Festival, which will be held for the first time next month.

Speaking at Asia-Pacific Meetings & Incentives Expo (AIME), Brisbane Convention Bureau GM Rob Nelson revealed international visitor numbers reached record levels in 2015, climbing 8.2 per cent year-on-year to hit 1 million. Business travel rose 3.2 per cent, with business travellers accounting for 112,000 arrivals in the same period.

He said: "The G20 (in 2014) really showed our appeal and what we're capable of. We've seen a sharp increase in business travellers (as a result) and our action plan aims to grow business events and attract more major events, such as the World Science Festival. Brisbane is a city that's evolving and it's evolving very quickly."

The Queen's Wharf development project will feature 1,100 hotel rooms, 50 new bars and restaurants, and a pedestrian bridge to South Bank, the home of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. It will add to the 900 hotel rooms that opened in the city in the last two years, following openings from Four Points by Sheraton, Hotel Jen, NEXT Hotels and Alex Perry.

Hotel openings for 2016 and 2017 include Pullman, ibis, Emporium and W, while Westin is due to finish a new build in 2018.

Nelson said expansion plans were in place for Brisbane Airport, which is developing a new parallel runway at a AU$1.35 billion price tag. He said: "The project will double the airport's capacity to a level similar to that of Hong Kong and Singapore. This is coming at a time when we're seeing upgraded and new air routes coming into Brisbane."

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