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Melbourne to host world’s leading eye health professionals in 2021

Melbourne has won an international bid to host 2,000 international eye health professionals at the World Congress of Optometry 2021 (WCO 2021).  The event will bring the world’s best professionals in optometry to Australia and provide local optometrists with valuable exposure to global knowledge, experience and approaches to practice.

To be held in September 2021, the three-day Congress will also see leading manufacturers and equipment suppliers from every corner of the globe converge at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) to share in the latest technological and patient care advances, that will enable optometrists to maximise their potential to make a significant impact on eye health in Australia and beyond..  

The bid secured by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) in partnership with Optometry Victoria South Australia and the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association with support from the Victorian State Government and Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program, is anticipated to generate almost $12 million in economic impact for the state of Victoria.  

Melbourne recently hosted one of the most successful optometry congresses, the  Southern Regional Congress (SRC), merging for the first time with the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association (ODMA) to create the new biennial event which aims to be the largest education, eye care and eyewear event ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere, O=MEGA19.  

This created a readily engaged audience in the optometry industry providing a successful platform for WCO 2021 to be hosted in the city alongside O=MEGA21.    

Melbourne is recognised as a site of international excellence, with the largest concentration of eye and vision researchers in Australia. This combined with the city’s renowned collaborative approach and excellent infrastructure positioned Melbourne as the ideal host for WCO 2021.  

MCB Acting Chief Executive Officer, Julia Swanson said the most recent win is a result of Melbourne’s reputation as a knowledge capital and innovation centre combined with the ‘Team Melbourne’ approach.  

“Melbourne is recognised as a premium destination in hosting global events in the medical field and the city provides the platform for further research and development while contributing to the economy,” said Ms Swanson.  

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said this was a major win for Melbourne and reinforced the city’s standing as a business events destination of choice.  

“Business events are extremely valuable to our economy, with the average business events visitor spending at least twice as much as a leisure visitor. These two events alone are expected to inject around $10 million into the economy,” Minister Birmingham said.  

“As a country, we have a distinguished track record of hosting large-scale international business events, and I am pleased that the Morrison Government’s Bid Fund Program is continuing to assist in the conversion of new business for Australia which provides a boost to our economy.”  

After more than a year seeing off a host of rivals as part of the international competitive tender process with the World Council of Optometry, Pete Haydon, CEO of Optometry Victoria South Australia said he is excited to be hosting the Congress in 2021 in Melbourne.  

“We believe that we have the best destination in Australia for this Congress, and we’re looking forward to working with the MCB and other partners in bringing it here. The support we’re getting from the sector to date has been fantastic.  

“Optometry in Australia is a strong and thriving profession. Partnering O=MEGA21 with the WCO 2021 will be a tremendous opportunity for our members to come together, share ideas, and make international connections,” Mr. Haydon said.

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