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On the menu

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With its boutique feel, expansive offerings and thriving knowledge hubs, Adelaide continues to attract and retain national and international business, writes Anastasia Prikhodko.

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on-the-menu1“Between now and December we’ve got about 400 events and some really big ones within that,” says Alec Gilbert, CEO of the Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC).

The Australian Wine Industry Trade Exhibition, Land Forces 2016 and the International Nuclear Physics Conference are just some of the big events been held in Adelaide this year.

With Adelaide strongly pushing for the medical and defence sectors, the upcoming conferences and exhibitions “put Adelaide on the map in terms of the industries they represent”.

Gilbert also says that Adelaide’s big point of difference is that everything is so compact.

“The airport is only a 10 minute drive into the city, and most of the hotels are literally over the road from the Convention Centre, which is designed to be a boutique Centre, so you can virtually take over the whole building,” he says.

The growing interest in Adelaide has also encouraged a more diverse demographic of visitors, according to Martin Radcliffe, general manager of Mayfair Hotel, one of Adelaide’s newest 5-star properties.

“Adelaideans no longer fit the conservative stereotype of old,” he says.

Radcliffe adds that with a number of conferences and events coming to Adelaide this year, such as the International Cancer Care Congress, international delegations are seeking high quality 5-star options with an experience strongly representative of South Australia.

on-the-menu-2The 170 room Mayfair Hotel is located at the corner of King William and Hindley Streets in the heritage-listed, newly renovated Colonial Mutual Life building.

“The location of Mayfair is ideal for those attending events at the convention centre or wider riverbank events and entertainment precinct, given we are just a few minutes’ walk to these locations,” says Radcliffe.

With one successful year down, the Mayfair continues to entice strong numbers in visitation. Radcliffe says that this year, the team will continue to boost “the hotel’s profile, securing
a strong share of smaller residential business events, incentive groups, and attracting some unique social events”.

Damien Kitto, CEO of the Adelaide Convention Bureau, reinforces that the momentum of conferencing in Adelaide  is building, as numbers are already secured for 2017-2019.

“We see Adelaide as the next new proposition for Australia,” he says.

on-the-menu-3Kitto also says that South East Asia, in particular Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore “would be a significant focus for us and then beyond that, there is China”.

Business with China is already in the pipeline for Adelaide, as Kitto confirms, “we’ll be hitting China hard again for corporate meetings and incentive opportunities”.

Last year’s Dreamtime event held in Adelaide was an opportunity to showcase the region to the international markets.

“The feedback and the information we have received is nothing but outstanding,” says Kitto. “A 95 per cent success factor provides us with great confidence not only with the development that’s currently taking place in the city but also from a corporate, meeting, and incentive perspective – we do have a lot to offer.”

In 2015 Adelaide attracted $152 million dollars’ worth of business. But beyond the economic value, it is also about the legacies that are left behind.

“Particularly from an association conference point of view, not only is there collaboration, and networking and knowledge transformation but it’s also a trade and investment opportunity that develops from that,” says Kitto.

Located on the eastern side of the city, the National Wine Centre of Australia is surrounded by the Botanic Gardens, parklands and removed from the “concrete jungle” of the CBD, says general manager Adrian Emeny.

“Many corporate companies and professional conference organisers are looking for an event space that is modern, with AV facilities, flexible catering options as well as being unique and exciting for their delegates,” he says.

Our non-traditional event spaces create a refreshing change to past tried behaviours.

“The Centre also houses the largest wine tasting experience in Australia which is a big draw card for guests who want to add a social element to their event.”

Emeny adds that the most challenging event this year was a large corporate conference that utilised the whole centre, with 270 delegates attending the four-day conference and participating in all day conferencing and evening social events.

“Logistically this was a challenge however the conference organiser was thoroughly impressed with the National Wine Centre’s ability to cater for large groups,” says Emeny.

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