Ten years ago over opening weekend in June 2004, the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) excitedly welcomed more than 100,000 locals who toured the facility among the fanfare of a community event titled ‘Gold Coast on Show’. The opening of the Centre marked a new era in conference facilities and major events for the Gold Coast. The community was encouraged to embrace the Centre and the much needed facility was welcomed as a vital economic driver for the region.
Since then, the Centre has welcomed more than 2 million visitors and guests who have attended 2,000 meetings or events over the past decade.
In keeping with the community theme and the spirit that Gold Coasters welcomed the GCCEC with upon opening, the team at the GCCEC set out to celebrate a decade of success by assisting some of the most venerable members of the community and honouring the city’s unsung tourism ambassadors – Gold Coast taxi drivers.
Last month, GCCEC Executive Chef Garry Kindred and his team donated their time to transform tonnes of fresh vegetables into 380 litres of hearty vegetable soup which was donated to those in need. This was the first time the Centre had partnered with OzHarvest after a chapter was set-up a few months ago in the region to nourish the immediate community through the redistribution of excess food. Saving the environment and simultaneously eliminating hunger and food waste was a bonus for kitchen staff who created two gourmet soup varieties that were delivered to six charities; Rosies, Surfers Paradise Anglican Crisis Centre, Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth, Meals on Wheels Palm Beach, Blair Athol Crisis Accommodation Centre and Agape Outreach. In essence 380 litres of soup equated to more than 1,000 nutritious meals for the most vulnerable members of our community.
Next it was time to turn our attention to the regions tourism ambassadors on wheels. As part of the GCCEC’s month of giving back to the community, Gold Coast taxi drivers were treated to a morning tea in recognition of their role as unofficial tourism ambassadors for guests and business events delegates coming to the Centre. Over the years, drivers have transported hundreds of thousands of delegates and the morning tea was a small gesture to acknowledge the important role Gold Coast Cab drivers play in an attendee’s experience of the Gold Coast as a destination.
GCCEC General Manager Adrienne Readings believes we all have a part to play in marketing the Gold Coast as a destination.
“I measure our success as a business on the whole destination not just our contribution. I think it’s fair to say that it comes down to our thought pattern and what is good for the Gold Coast as well as what’s good for us.
“It was great to give back to the Gold Coast community and we will continue to do so. They really welcomed us with open arms ten years ago and I think the city has come to understand our pivotal role in attracting events to the region, contributing to the community and being an economic propeller for the region,” Adrienne added.
Concluding a month of birthday festivities more than 150 Centre team members gathered to reminisce and reflect on a decade of business excellence with a team party. Incredibly, 27 members of the original 130 preopening team who have worked at the GCCEC since opening were honoured for ten years of service, Adrienne Readings included. An impressive 1.5m cake complete with 23kg of icing and 13kg of chocolate ganache encased a giant chocolate replica of the convention centre itself. Towering 16cm in height the sweet masterpiece took three days to bake and decorate with four chefs contributing to the delicious sculpture including Liam Burrows, the Centre’s incredibly talented apprentice chef who hand-crafted the baked goodness from beginning to end.
“The Centre has certainly weaved its way into the cultural fabric of the Gold Coast assuming multiple roles on its 10 year journey to become an iconic landmark, a huge economic driver for the region and a world-class leader and ambassador for the MICE industry on the Gold Coast and Queensland respectively,” said Adrienne.
June 2014, was remarkably memorable for the Centre. The team looks forward to fostering their well-deserved reputation for service excellence and to welcoming many more events for years to come.