Conference organiser calls for expansion of Gold Coast convention centre or risk losing events

The organiser of the Pharmacy Guild’s annual conference at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) has offered a stark warning that the region risks losing major events and conferences without an expansion of the Broadbeach venue.

The Pharmacy Guild’s annual conference attracts more than 6000 delegates each year to the GCCEC, with numbers growing by five to 10 per cent each year forcing it to erect an outside marquee for the past two years to accommodate the extra numbers.

Speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Pharmacy Guild Queensland event manager Emma Fernance said they had “simply run out of space.”

“We’ve taken over all the exhibition space which is mainly due to our trade exhibition where we have 450 stands and we can’t fit any more in,” she said.

“Because we’ve taken over all of the exhibition space, we’ve had to move our dinner – which is now a street party because it’s a stand-up function – to a venue in The Star because we don’t have the capacity.”

Fernance said they wanted to stay on the Gold Coast, but may have to move to Brisbane if the event numbers continue to grow each year.

They are looking at erecting another marquee for their next conference at the end of March to house its delegates, but Fernance concedes it’s not “a long-term solution”

“…so yes we would absolutely love to see the facilities on the Gold Coast upgraded,” she told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “Otherwise we just won’t be able to fit our event in.”

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said she is considering The Star Entertainment Group’s $100 million offer to fund the convention centre expansion in exchange for gaming exclusivity.

Star would also contractually commit to its $2 billion Broadbeach Island masterplan as well as revamping the Sheraton Mirage and adding a beach club.