The Hospitality Committee
In January 2018, the Australasia Branch appointed a Hospitality Committee (HC) to oversee the arrangements for welcoming and caring for the international delegates assigned to the Melbourne International Convention. The HC is made up of five brothers. An assistant is assigned to each member of the Committee.
Up to 6,300 delegates from 24 countries including over 900 special full time servants will be shown warm hospitality by our local brothers and sisters in Australia from Sunday 17th November through to Tuesday 26th November 2019.
Activities that are currently being planned include the following:
Airport Welcome – Delegates will receive a special greeting and warm welcome when they arrive Down Under. This is a wonderful opportunity for families and children to be involved.
Evening Gatherings – Melton Assembly Hall was chosen as the location to host the Evening Gathering. Work is now underway to showcase some of the great talent amongst our brothers and sisters. Over 500 volunteers are involved in this activity.
Bus Tours – There are four official coach tours that delegates may choose to experience. Options include Ballarat, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas, or Healesville Sanctuary with a brief stopover to either the chocolate factory or Domaine winery. Approximately 270 volunteers are being trained up to be coach captains or guides.
Walking Tours – Delegates have been invited to participate in walking tours around the Central Business District (CBD). Walking tours will showcase Melbourne’s arts and parks, gardens, laneways and historic buildings. Approximately 200 volunteers have been chosen as tour guides or assistants.
Field Service – Approximately 100 congregations around Melbourne will enjoy the unique opportunity of showing hospitality to our international delegates on a local level. Brothers and sisters will join the delegates to share in field service activities within their local territory and then spend time to associate afterwards.
Hotel Information Desks – The international delegates will be accommodated in over 50 hotels around Melbourne. Many of these hotels will have a Hotel Information Desk (HID) located in the reception area to assist our brothers and sisters with any needs and inquiries. Around 900 local volunteers are required to provide assistance at the desks between the hours of 6.30am and 10pm every day. On the three convention days, HID will be available before the convention program begins and at the conclusion of the convention program.
Public Transport Guides – The HC are also responsible for transporting delegates to and from the convention all three days. Arrangements have been made with Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to ensure that the international delegates receive discounted travel to and from the convention using the trains and trams. Around 250 Public Transport Guides will assist the delegates, escorting them to and from their hotel to Marvel Stadium. Due to hotel locations and road works currently taking place, a small number of delegates will need to travel by bus to and from the stadium. During the convention days, international delegates and special full-time servants will receive their lunch at the stadium.
Coach Transport Team – It is estimated that around 150 coaches will be utilised each day for bus tours, evening gatherings and field service.
Volunteer and Delegate Management – A team of brothers and sisters have been involved in caring for the jw2019 website content and for correspondence with the international delegates. Thousands of emails have been sent and received to assist with inquiries from visas to hotel information. Additionally, the volunteer management team interviewed and assessed volunteers to be able to assign roles. This team will soon have the responsibility of creating delegate itineraries based on the delegate selections.
Food – To ensure the international delegates receive a nutritious meal for lunch at the convention, a team of brothers and sisters have been assigned to co-ordinate the food arrangements. Professional caterers will assist in preparing and distributing lunch packs. Arrangements have also been made to cater for delegates with dietary requirements. On bus tour routes, selected congregations will have the privilege of assisting in food preparation and distribution.
Currently the HC meet every week on a Thursday afternoon to review the arrangements for and make unified decisions regarding hotels, public transportation, coach transportation, bus and walking tours, the evening gathering, field service arrangements, food arrangements, volunteer & delegate management, and safety.
These brothers are very excited as the countdown progresses towards the Convention in November 2019. They are overwhelmed at the support and cooperation provided by so many willing volunteers who have said in effect “Here I am… send me”. It is their prayer that Jehovah’s blessing and spirit be on the plans, preparation and all those involved in some way, shape or form in the hospitality arrangements.