Investments are being made to prepare the conference centre for the future and make it the heart of the campus area
The Municipal Executive has adopted an initial framework study for major investments (€ 27.2 million) in the MECC. These investments are intended to prepare the exhibition and conference centre for the future. Plans include the renovation of the auditorium and the foyers and the conference centre will be given a new contemporary character. The MECC will also serve as a centre for the campus area. For this purpose, a new entrance will be constructed on the Forum side, catering and commercial facilities will be added and the Expo foyer will be extended. The municipality hopes that the investments will increase the annual MECC turnover by approximately € 18 million. This be will a significant boost to the economy of the city and the region. Most of the investment (€ 15 million) will be financed by the benefit gained by the municipality from the purchase of MECC property in March this year. The municipality expects the remaining amount to be covered by the long-term investment plan, a contribution from the province and extra hire income by MECC Maastricht.
“Without having to use extra resources, we are making investments that will provide a major economic boost to the city and the region. The construction alone is estimated at 300 man-years. By making these investments, we are ensuring that the MECC is future-proof and we are establishing a sustainable link between the conference centre and the campus area. That is vital, because a strong conference centre is of great value not only for commercial activities and employment, it is also necessary for the further development and positioning of South Limburg as an international knowledge region,” says John Aarts.
“These investments make us the second conference city of the Netherlands,” according to Rob van de Wiel, director of the MECC.
MECC investment plan 2015 – 2020
To ensure that the MECC is of considerable value to the city and region in the future too, investments in the accommodation will be required in the next few years. Conference organisers are making increasingly higher and more varied demands on the conference accommodation, which must therefore be updated and adjusted to current and future wishes. This will allow Maastricht and the region to maintain and reinforce their competitive position with respect to other conference cities. Furthermore, the link between the conference centre and the Brightlands Campus (Maastricht Health Campus and Chemelot Campus) must be strengthened. That too will require physical adjustments. The purchase of the property by the municipality has provided the financial scope to make these investments possible in the period 2015 – 2020. Together with MECC Maastricht BV and the RO Group, the municipality has adopted a targets for this investment plan.
The most important measures are:
- upgrading the entrance at car parks 3 and 4 and linking the Expo foyer to the Zuidhal hall;
- extending and renovating the auditorium, foyer and Expo foyer;
- new development on the Forumplein square: new entrance, meeting facilities, catering facilities, commercial areas and breakout rooms (smaller spaces where parallel sessions can be organised during conferences), so that a meeting place (Brightlands Meeting Point) is created within the campus area for internationals, students, conference visitors and knowledge workers;
- revitalising the Forum passage: replacing commercial spaces and making them more flexible as regards use and dimensions, relocating the stairs to car park 3;
- improving and updating the character of the halls;
- giving the MECC greater external prestige (by means of LED walls on the Forumplein and Kennedysingel sides).
This investment is expected to bring about extra conference market growth of 5,500 visitors a year (one major event of 3,000 visitors and 3 to 5 events of approximately 800 participants). The investment plans should result in a total annual growth in MECC turnover of € 1.8 million. This will result in an annual boost to the region of € 7 to 10 million and an estimated 100 to 120 extra jobs.
With a turnover of € 12 million, MECC Maastricht now provides 60 direct and 600 indirect jobs. The added value for the city and region is estimated at € 60 to € 70 million.
The plans will be detailed in the short term. In late 2016, the Municipal Executive will submit a final implementation plan to the Municipal Council.
On November 2nd, Sandy Bartelet joined the team of the Maastricht Convention Bureau, as Business Development Manager Conventions. The Maastricht Convention Bureau is a foundation which promotes the Maastricht region as a destination for conventions.
Sandy Bartelet is looking forward to her new job: “As a destination for conferences, the Maastricht region has a lot to offer. With all the developments surrounding the Brightlands Campuses, there are many new opportunities for Maastricht as a destination for scientific meetings. I am very much looking forward to make sure even more scientific conventions will be held and developed here in the Maastricht region together with my colleagues and in cooperation with the partners of the Maastricht Convention Bureau and other important parties such as MECC Maastricht, Brightlands and the Maastricht municipality. This is a fantastic challenge, to which I am very much looking forward to! I was born in Maastricht, so after years of being away I am excited to return back to my roots!”
Sandy has lived and worked in various countries, including Germany and the United States and therefore is internationally orientated. After studying at the Hotel Management School in Maastricht, she worked at companies such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and just recently as Sales Executive Business Travel & Corporate MICE at Hilton Worldwide in Frankfurt.
On Saturday March 21st, during the annual TEFAF meeting of the convention ambassador club Amici ad Mosam, Mayor Onno Hoes will hand out the very first Brightlands Convention Award to the person who has meant most to Maastricht as a convention destination. We introduce the nominees for this award via this press release.
Amici ad Mosam was founded by MECC Maastricht and Maastricht Convention Bureau in 2011, to create a network and platform between regional academics, MECC Maastricht, and the Maastricht Convention Bureau. For many years now these two organisations have been building a relationship with academics from Maastricht & region. Together with them, they try to get conventions and scientific meetings to come to Maastricht & region and to initiate new ones.
The award is sponsored by Brightlands, which shows how important conventions are to the Maastricht Health Campus and the Chemelot Campus as well.
Below, the nominees for the very first Brightlands Convention Award are listed. They are in alphabetical order and besides their names, their specialties as well as the reason for their nomination are stated:
- Dr. Chris Arts – Orthopaedic – European Conference on Biomaterials 2018
- Prof. dr. Maarten van Kleef – Anaesthesiology|Pain Management- WIP; World Institute of Pain 2014
- Gilbert Soeters – Archaeology – Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeology 2017
- Prof. dr. Yasin Temel – Neurosurgeon |MHENS – ESSFN; European Society for Stereotactic Neurofunction Surgery 2014
The board of the Maastricht Convention Bureau elects the winner from these nominees. The winner will be announced by Mayor Onno Hoes on Saturday March 21st. The board members of the Maastricht Convention Bureau are: Frans Willem Cox, director Hotel Van der Valk Maastricht, Lars Flinkerbusch, director VVV Maastricht Tourist Office, Susanne Pauwels, managing director of Pauwels Congress Organisers and Rob van de Wiel, director MECC Maastricht. Chairman of the board is Jan Kees Dunning, CEO Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus.
Maastricht Convention Bureau
6229 GT Maastricht – the Netherlands
t: +31 43 763 47 30
BTW: NL 812866526B01
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