The number of incentive groups selecting the Gold Coast are on the rise, with new figures highlighting a major increase in the number of programmes secured for the city in the 12 months to 30 June 2017.
The latest QBES results have revealed 201 groups were secured by Destination Gold Coast, up significantly from the 122 groups in the previous financial year.
‘We are very confident we are going to have a wonderful next few years.’
That’s the word according to Peter King, CEO of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, speaking at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME), taking place in Melbourne.
With millions of dollars of investment underway in tourism and events infrastructure, a ‘renaissance’ of sorts is going on for the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) director of business and tourism events Rosie Douglas says new luxury hotels, an arts precinct, waterfront brewery and expanded marina were among the projects currently underway.
Business events will play an integral part in the Australian government’s future tourism strategy.
Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, convened the first meeting of the Beyond Tourism 2020 Steering Committee in Sydney.
Only 10 days remain before applications for the MEA Industry Awards come to a close.
The MEA Awards acknowledge the achievements of the meetings and events industry and showcases the work and excellence of individuals and businesses in Australia.
Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has again partnered with a selection of venues, accommodation providers and attractions across the business events sector to bring ten specially curated City Experiences to hosted buyers at AIME 2018.
Each tour will visit locations to go behind the scenes at several Melbourne venues, and taste the ‘delights’ of Australia’s food capital.
W Brisbane, part of Marriott International, is set to amplify Queensland’s incentives and events offering when the hotel opens in March 2018.
It will be the first five-star hotel to open in Brisbane’s central business district in 20 years and will be the closest, largest, five-star hotel to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) and 18 kilometres from Brisbane Airport.
Interest in Tasmania as a C&I destination is increasing, according to Claire Harrington, Business Events Tasmania, speaking at Dreamtime 2017, currently taking place in Brisbane.
‘Tasmania has predominantly always been known as an associations destination,’ she says.
‘However we are now seeing a huge swing to C&I. Eighty percent of our bids used to be associations, but now it’s more 50/50.’
Cairns Convention Centre is set to undergo a major extension, which is great news for the business events and conference market, says Siobhan Mulcahy, marketing assistant, events, TTNQ.
Mulcahy says the extension further enhance’s the region’s portfolio of business event spaces, and ties in nicely with the upgrades and refurbishments taking place across many of the city’s accommodation, not to mention the three new hotels being built by CrystalBrook Collection.
According to Vania Bay, Cairns Convention Centre director of client services, the extension will mean a further 3000 square metres of exhibition space, allowing for larger exhibitions and concurrent events to take place.
The new $150 million Novotel Melbourne South Wharf is in its final stages of construction as part of the $350 million expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and broader South Wharf precinct.
On track to open March 2018, the hotel will have 347 guestrooms and suites, and has just released a first look at its interior design and specs.
It is now one year until Sydney’s International Convention Centre plays host to SIBOS, a big global financial services event that’s putting the state on the map.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall says SIBOS, which was secured for Sydney by the NSW Government through Business Events Sydney, rounds out a huge upcoming 12 months of business meetings and conventions.
Sydney’s Darling Harbour will welcome a new event location on November 10 - the Darling Harbour Endeavour Pavilion.
A waterfront location, the Endeavour Pavilion is a marquee that offers all-inclusive event packages, with catering from Laissez-Faire being looked after on site.
Hobart has hosted one of the largest conferences ever to be held in Tasmania, the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) 2017.
AIEC is considered the leading event on the international education calendar in Australia.
More than 1200 delegates attended the conference last week at Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, with around 15 to 20% of them from overseas.
W Brisbane, part of Marriott International, will open early next year.
The first five-star hotel to open in Brisbane's central business district in 20 years, W Brisbane will mark the re-entry of the brand into Australia, with guestroom bookings due to start in November 2017.
Destination New South Wales (DNSW) has launched a new regional conferencing unit, and Kiwis are among its key targets.
Sandra Chipchase, chief executive officer of DNSW, says the organisation has actually taken notice of how New Zealand has successfully developed its regional meetings and incentive sector.
‘I think new Zealanders have been leaders in developing a regional product. So we have looked at what we can learn and how we can add to it in an Australian context. We’d also like to look at how we can lead share for more regional business.’
Delegates looking to Australia’s west for their next conference, The Aquarium of Western Australia is open for bookings.
Located in the heart of Hillary’s Boat Harbour in Perth, the function space offers a Day Delegate Package from $65.00 per person, arrival tea and coffee, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, Free WiFi and other technologies.
Delegates can enjoy the Sundowner by the Sea experience too, which includes canapés and drinks while watching the sunset.
The Four Seasons Hotel is undertaking a major renovation to its Grand Ballroom. Officially launching 7 September, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney’s new ballroom will feature a contemporary design, and taking centrestage is the installation of a 12-metre-wide by 3.5-metre-high LED screen – four times larger than a traditional projector screen.
Gold Coast has been selected as the destination to host the Associations Forum National Conference in 2018. The event will bring together more than 500 representatives from a diverse range of not-for-profit organisations made up of associations, charities, institutes, clubs and societies, together with suppliers to the sector.
Back for 2017, Convene Q celebrated its fourth birthday at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
All up, 88 Exhibitors, 23 hosted buyers and around 200 day buyers convened in the sunny city to network and negotiate.
Allyssa Eastaugh, general and events manager of ProMag Publishing says this year’s event brought together more geographic regions from across Queensland than ever before.
Yesterday saw the conclusion of the first ever dual pre-famil to Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. Delegates had the chance to explore the creative beach and hinterland experiences of the Coast, paired with a carefully curated and cultural journey around Brisbane's CBD, all before attending Convene Q 2017.
Connecting passengers arriving at Brisbane Airport has never been easier with Airtrain Connect now offering door-to-door service as a one-way or return option. The service includes an express train transfer to a Gold Coast station and chauffeured private vehicle transfer services to accommodation or meeting venues.
Captain Cook Cruises has announced they have been granted permission by the NSW State Government, to commence a ferry service to and from the International Convention Centre (ICC) wharf. The Ferry will commence in just a few weeks and will operate daily from early morning to evening between the ICC, Barangaroo and Circular Quay.
Mantra Southbank in Melbourne has received a multi-million dollar refurbishment, designed to transform the hotel’s apartment-style guest rooms into an ‘arts-inspired urban oasis’.
Mantra Southbank general manager Adrian Lampe says the hotel’s new design takes cues from the hotel’s surrounding arts and dance precinct.
‘When you have neighbours like the Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian Ballet, Melbourne Theatre Company and Centre for Contemporary Arts, it was imperative we reinterpreted the space, modernised our features and added some theatrical fun for our guests,’ he explains.
The 118-room hotel Mantra Southbank is within close proximity to Crown Casino and the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Mantra Southbank is advertising rates starting from $169* per night in a one bedroom apartment or from $209* per night in a two bedroom apartment.
The Cairns Convention Centre will undergo a $176 million expansion that includes refurbishment of the existing centre plus the addition of new exhibition space and meeting rooms.
The Queensland government predicts the expansion and upgrade will have major economic benefits for Cairns, including an additional $30 million of economic benefit for the regional economy each year, greater investment in Tropical North Queensland, 20,000 extra visitors annually and job creation.
The Royal Caribbean has released a six-night Tasmanian cruise on Explorer of the Seas targeting the MICE industry.
The cruise departs Sydney on Saturday 9 December 2017, ideal for end-of-year functions. The six-night roundtrip cruise includes a call to Hobart and Melbourne along with three days at sea, offering the perfect mix of business and pleasure for attendees.
‘We know MICE organisers are constantly looking for new and exciting ways to wow their clients, and a cruise with Royal Caribbean delivers just that,’ says Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean International Australia & New Zealand.
‘It not only makes planning easier - with all conference, accommodation, entertainment and dining venues in one place - but it also offers incredible value for money, costing as little as NZD$220 per head.’
The recently renovated, 3800-guest Explorer of the Seas is one of the largest ships sailings down under and features flexible conference facilities with capacity for up to 400 delegates, state-of-the-art presentation equipment and inbuilt AV, variety of meeting rooms, a dedicated onboard event manager and VOOM – the fastest internet at sea.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has further cemented its place as Australasia’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre, taking out the award for the sixth year running at the World Travel Awards in China.
MCEC’s chief executive Peter King says the centre’s infrastructure, event capabilities and innovative and customer-centric approach helped secure the global accolade.
‘It takes a lot of hard work and determination by the entire MCEC team to maintain our number one spot in this industry. We are constantly evolving, determined to innovate, adapt and create incredible event experiences for our customers, and I think this repeat accolade is evidence of this,’ he says.
A range of venues, accommodation and bars and restaurants were put on show during the This is Gold Coast Business Exchange held last weekend. The destination is in makeover mode, preparing for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
To get a taste of things to come, PCOs were went behind the scenes several leading hotels, including Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, the Royal Pines Resort, QT Gold Coast, Mercure, and the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort.
Groups also checked out various venues across the city that would host events at the games, including the new-look Gold Coast Aquatic Centre following its $41 million redevelopment, which will be the swimming and diving facility for the games, and the Metricon Stadium & Carrara Sports & Leisure Centre, which will be home to the opening and closing ceremonies.
Delegates then headed indoors for the pinnacle event - The This is Gold Coast Business Exchange, held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
Anna Case, director, says the event was an opportunity to open doors that may otherwise be a challenge.
‘We’re building a reputation, a great profile, here on the Gold Coast. Yes we are rivals, but we need to work together, collaborate, to showcase Gold Coast as a destination,’ she says. ‘That was this event is all about. It’s our job to put it all together.’
Outrigger Hotels and Resorts has appointed Sydney-based company Tourism Portfolio to handle its meetings, incentives, conferences and events business.
Headed by founder and director Donna Kessler, Tourism Portfolio will be responsible for developing outbound MICE opportunities for Outrigger’s global portfolio, and the team will work to increase brand awareness and look for MICE opportunities to promote Outrigger’s venues, resorts and destinations in Hawaii, Thailand, Fiji, Guam, Mauritius and The Maldives.
Tourism Portfolio represents DMC’s, venues, luxury hotels, resorts and suppliers to the MICE buyers in the Australian and New Zealand market. They have clients in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, China, Europe, Africa and USA.
Kessler will report directly to Outrigger’s regional director of sales & marketing Asia Pacific, Andrew Gee, commencing June 1, 2017.
Gee says Tourism Portfolio has a strong reputation in the ANZ region. ‘Their network of travel industry, corporate and MICE related contacts is second to none and I’m confident we will see some strong MICE results in due course.’
QT Melbourne has taken home the “Large Hotel of the Year” award at the Australian Gourmet Traveller 2017 Hotel Guide Awards.
The awards were actually hosted at the hotel, and its Rooftop at QT bar was also crowned “Best Bar” on the night.
QT’s other properties in Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast, Port Douglas and Bondi also made the cut of Top 50 Hotels listed in the guide.
Sydney will play host to the Global Summit of Women event in 2018.
The announcement was made by the CEO of Business Events Sydney, Lyn Lewis-Smith at this year’s Summit in Tokyo.
‘Hosting events like the Global Summit of Women will be a catalyst for greater economic empowerment of Australian women by shining a spotlight on underperforming areas, eliciting tangible commitments from our leaders to change the status quo,’ she says.
‘A recent EY report suggests that tapping into women’s global potential could be the equivalent of having another one billion people in the workforce, driving economic growth around the world.’
Hobart has won the bid for the Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference Series (AWTEC) 2020, which is expected to attract more than 350 delegates and generate AUD$1 million for the Tasmanian economy.
Business Events Tasmania partnered with Tasmanian Business Event Ambassador Professor Neil Bose, principal of the Australian Maritime College (AMC) and Associate Professor Irene Penesis, National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics to collaboratively bid to bring the event to Tasmania.
CEO of Business Events Tasmania Stuart Nettlefold says the win demonstrates Tasmania’s capability to host international conferences.
‘Events such as this put Tasmania on the global stage and showcase Tasmania’s leadership in the marine renewable energy industry sector and our world leading research institutes and universities,’ he says.
Sydney has been named as Australia’s number one business event destination in the latest International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Country and City Rankings report.
The city also snapped up the number 10 spot for best business event destinations in Asia Pacific.
Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney says they’re thrilled to remain number one in Australia.
A record number of events will be held at the Brisbane Showgrounds this month.
Over 75,000 people will make their way to Queensland’s largest events site next month for 46 events.
The events in May include the ROC (Ridiculous Obstacle Course) Race on May 13 where 12,000 people wearing crazy costumes will attempt a 5km obstacle course.
Meetings & Events Australia have revealed the winners of the 2016 Industry Awards.
The organisation presented its industry awards at the ICC Sydney Ballroom on 2 May, recognising excellence in the meetings and events industry across Australia.
More than 600 industry members, colleagues and guests attended the dinner, which was held on the last day of the 2017 National Conference.
Meeting Venue for under 500 Delegates went to the Crowne Plaza Terrigal, while the Meeting Venue for more than 500 Delegrtes went to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The award for Exhibition Services went to Adelaide Expo Hire, while PCO of the Year went to Robyn Gardner at GEMS Event Management.
A multi-million dollar convention centre and hotel has been announced for Ballarat.
The Victoria State Government has confirmed financial support of $AU25 million towards development of the Ballarat Station Precinct, an integrated convention and exhibition centre with large, flexible spaces for exhibitions and conferences, alongside a 100-room hotel with retail and restaurant offerings.
The announcement heralds a game changer for business events in Victoria, says Visit Ballarat general manager marketing, Louise Laing, speaking at the Visit Victoria Trade Mission in Melbourne last week.
‘This gives us an opportunity to provide a “big city” facility in our beautiful regional centre, and it will complement all the attractions we have here.’
‘The show must go on’.
That’s the word according to the organisers of the Panalitix Accountants’ Conference, who were in the final planning stages for the annual conference when Cyclone Debbie smashed into the Whitsundays making it impossible for Hamilton Island to host the 400-delegate event later this month.
Organisers informed delegates of the change of destination less than three weeks before the scheduled start of the event when, it became obvious that Hamilton Island wouldn’t be fully operational to cater for such a major conference.
Tourism New Zealand is currently hosting Taste of New Zealand events in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane as Australian associations look to learn more abut the range of venues, accommodation, activities and cuisine on offer.
'Association event organisers are always on the lookout for a unique and memorable experience for their delegates,” says Lisa Gardiner, manager for Business Events and Premium, Tourism New Zealand.
Tourism Australia’s signature event for promoting the country as a world-class incentive destination, Dreamtime, will be held in Brisbane, Queensland this year.
Australian industry will have the opportunity to meet and do business with qualified buyers from key markets including New Zealand.
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan says Dreamtime is Australia’s largest business events showcase, and taking the event to Brisbane is an exciting development for a city that is continuing to raise its profile internationally as an ideal incentive destination.
Global mergers and acquisitions, the impact of Trump and Brexit and local economic policy will be on the agenda at the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) 2016 conference to be held as an official test event at the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) from 29 to 30 November.
EEAA chief executive, Joyce DiMascio, says the line up of speakers will offer an international perspective on the exhibition landscape, a forecast on the performance of the economy and key industry sectors, as well as a snapshot of the differences in traditional B2B versus consumer, pop culture and niche shows.
Adelaide has won the right to host World Routes 2019, the largest conference in the aviation industry. It will be the first time the event has been held in Australia.
World Routes will bring more than 3,000 delegates from major airlines, airports, tourism and aviation businesses from around the world to meet in Adelaide for the three-day conference to discuss new air services. The event moves to a different location annually to showcase different destinations to the airline industry.
Authenticity is at the heart successful business events in Australia, says Wayne Harris, general manager of GO Conference & Incentive – and he has many examples to prove it.
‘The food and wine in Australia is sensational, not only the quality of the produce but also the standard of service delivery. No one does it better than Australia,’ says Harris. ‘This, combined with a natural Australian, setting can deliver an authentic experience that is hard to match – and for New Zealanders that is the key to a successful incentive. New Zealanders can smell a plastic copy a mile off – they want real places, local characters, tastes and touch points.’
Exhibitors at Convene Q worked hard to attract the attention of the many buyers that filtered through on the day of the event.
And, every year there are two stand out stands chosen as a winner and a runner up on the day.
For this year’s event, the judges chose Howard Smith Wharves’ stand as the winner because it was not only stunning, but the exhibitor, Sally Pulford ‘was so passionate about the brand..there was a real excitement about what they had install for the market.’