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5 Reasons to hold your next conference in Australia
From our convention centres that lead the world in service and catering, to our innovative people, who will inspire and challenge your audience, Australia has a distinguished track record of delivering world-class international business events. Discover five reasons why Australia stands out from the crowd.
Delivering a conference is a breeze in Australia, with our convention centres located in the heart of our capital cities, just a short stroll from attractions, hotels, and transport. Many of our centres boast stunning views, from Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre's (PCEC) vista over the magnificent Elizabeth Quay, to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) prime position on the banks of the Yarra River in Melbourne/Narrm. The centres continue to modernise and expand; Cairns Convention Centre has recently undergone a major development and expansion which is now complete and will launch in September, whilst Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre has developed dedicated sensory sensitivity zones to improve accessibility. Sustainability is at the forefront, with most centres certified by EarthCheck at either Gold or Platinum level, and innovative green initiatives like International Convention Centre Sydney’s (ICC Sydney) low carbon menu setting the bar high. With award-winning chefs leading the kitchens, the culinary offering at Australia’s convention centres is modern, thoughtful, and locally sourced, rendering lacklustre conference food a distant memory. Beyond Australia’s convention centres, an array of event venues offer planners plenty of creative freedom, from sporting stadiums like Adelaide Oval in Adelaide/Tarntanya and Optus Stadium in Perth/Boorloo to art galleries, rooftop spaces, museums and high-end hotels.
“The big attraction of Melbourne was not only the convention facilities which are excellent, the transport links which are very good but just the size of the city. It provides a good opportunity for delegates to move around and engage with each other, because that’s very valuable.”
– Gordon McInally, Rotary International
The Australian events industry and its people have a reputation for being warm, welcoming, and willing to help. This ‘can-do’ attitude manifests in our events planners who take pride in going above and beyond to nail the brief, and in our hospitality staff who are passionate about their line of work and deliver service with a smile. Kick off an event with a Welcome to Country delivered by a Traditional Owner or Custodian, to acknowledge and give consent to events taking place on Traditional Lands. This convivial ceremony can take many different forms, from song and dance to a smoking ceremony, leaving international delegates feeling at home and imparting a deeper appreciation of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Access to sector-specific knowledge is effortless; Australia’s convention bureaux can connect planners with some of the country’s greatest minds who will inspire and challenge audiences. Furthermore, Australia’s vibrant multiculturalism and progressive ethos welcomes visitors from all nations and walks of life, as was demonstrated when Sydney/Warrane was chosen as the host city for InterPride’s annual WorldPride festival and Human Rights Conference in 2023, the first time it has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.
“When the audience makes a choice of where to host their conferences. We look at three things. The first is human rights records, with regards to HIV, we just cannot hold conference in a place where there is any level of discrimination against people living with HIV, which still happens in many parts of the world. The second thing they look at is the physical capability to host the conference, and Brisbane has a pretty impressive conference centre. And the third is the financial support provided by the host country and or city, which was very attractive from Brisbane in Australia.”
– Sharon Lewin, International Aids Society
A wealth of premium accommodation surrounds Australia’s convention centres, offering a wide range of choice for event planners and delegates. Options range from notable international brands like The Ritz-Carlton and IHG Hotels & Resorts to boutique luxury brands like Ovolo Hotels and Accor’s Handwritten Collection. In Sydney/Warrane, ICC Sydney is perched on the edge of Darling Harbour next door to Sofitel Darling Harbour and the new W Sydney by Marriot Bonvoy (opening in late 2023), with Crown Sydney across the water at Barangaroo. In Melbourne/Narrm, the MCEC’s central location at South Wharf places it close to a range of five-star hotels including Pan Pacific Melbourne, Novotel South Wharf, Crown Towers and The Langham Melbourne, with the brand-new The Ritz-Carlton Melbourne just 15 minutes’ walk from the centre. And in South Australia’s capital of Adelaide/Tarntanya, delegates can take their pick, from the InterContinental Adelaide or the new Eos by SkyCity adjacent to the Adelaide Convention Centre, to the range of hotel options spanning neighbouring North Terrace.
To meet the growing urge to give back to the destinations we visit, Australia’s business events industry provides conferences with the opportunity to leave a lasting impact. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can take many forms, from opting for edible centrepieces that become meals for disadvantaged Australians to providing options to offset the carbon footprint of your event, like Cairns Convention Centre’s partnership with Reforest which allows events to purchase trees to help revegetate local rainforest. ICC Sydney has developed a dedicated ‘Legacy Program’ which helps clients to deliver an impact and contribute to the intellectual, social and cultural capital of Sydney/Warrane, long after the conclusion of their event. Event organisers can choose to involve delegates in Yarning Circles where they’ll learn First Nations weaving techniques and share in their cultures, or take the opportunity to engage local performers and young talent. For pre-and post-conference activities that leave a legacy, consider these socially responsible culinary experiences.
Delegates attending a conference in an Australian city are spoiled for choice when it comes to pre, post and mid-conference experiences, with an array of activities on offer in and around our city centres. In Queensland’s Gold Coast, delegates can learn to surf at the famous Surfers Paradise beach, or view the glittering Gold Coast from 322 metres (1,056 feet) above ground from the iconic SkyPoint Observation Deck near the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. In Sydney/Warrane, groups can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb, or take a behind-the-scenes peek at the famous Sydney Opera House. On the west coast, Swan River Seaplanes can whisk guests up and away on a scenic flight over Perth/Boorloo followed by a picnic on the foreshore, whilst in Melbourne/Narrm, delegates can experience the world’s largest digital art gallery, THE LUME, in the MCEC on South Wharf.
“In Sydney, if you have downtime, you can get out and really explore and see a lot - and not go that far to see it.”
- Alan Reiff, InterPride
Published: 30 August 2023