Nine years in the making, the expansion of the Adelaide Convention Centre has transformed Adelaide’s skyline with two new buildings, boosting the venue’s footprint to 20,000sqm of multi-purpose space. The final stage of the redevelopment, the new East Building, opened in August with a spectacular launch that showcased the City’s creativity, innovation, and of course, incredible produce.
“We’re a centre transformed,” says Simon Burgess, who has held the position of director of convention and exhibition sales at the Centre for the past five years. He takes over the reins as general manager of the venue in January following the departure of Alec Gilbert, who led the team for the past 12 years and through its incredible transformation.
“This year has been a milestone year for us. Not only did we celebrate 30 years in business with the completion of our redevelopment, but we played host to the city’s largest ever business event, the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC). The success of IAC proves that Adelaide now has the capacity and expertise to host large-scale events.”
The world’s largest annual gathering of space professionals, IAC rocketed Adelaide into the large events stratosphere. With 4470 delegates from 71 nations, joined by 700 students, 300 volunteers and several thousand members of the public, it was not only one of the largest events in IAC history, but the largest business event ever hosted in Adelaide.
“IAC was a fitting event for our expanded centre and a clear illustration of the ‘Team Adelaide’ approach,” says Burgess. “The whole of Adelaide was immersed in the event, with a number of space-themed programs within the city for public engagement.”
IAC was strategically timed to coincide with the completion of the Centre’s redevelopment, and took place just weeks after the official opening. With an extensive program comprising eight plenary sessions, three highlight lectures, two breaking news and 200 technical sessions, it was a great illustration of the Centre’s highly flexible floor plan, using every square metre of the venue in various different configurations.
“It’s a new breed of convention centre in terms of innovation and flexibility,” adds Burgess. “Our East Building represents the first time rotating drums, hinged seating and operable walls have been brought together in one venue, making it one of the world’s most flexible convention centres. The Plenary can be subdivided into more than 15 different configurations.”
Adelaide’s changing landscape, including its rejuvenated Riverbank Precinct, a series of new growth industries and a pipeline of additional hotels and development, has injected a fresh energy into the city and seen it emerge as a leading destination for business events. If you haven’t recently paid the South Australian capital a visit, it’s time.