Dreamtime is like test-driving a car; you have to come to Australia to see it and feel it, and get to know the products and places, before you can confidently go and sell it.
That’s how Penny Lion, general manager of Business Events Australia at Tourism Australia, describes the Australian incentive product showcase that takes place every two years. Adelaide was selected as the host city for Dreamtime 2015, bringing 95 buyers and 70 sellers and members of the Australian industry together for the five-day event that was the largest to date in Dreamtime’s 15-year history.
Prevue joined the party to learn more about the latest developments taking place down under, strumming up 10 of Oz’s top new developments in Australia that should be on your radar:
1. Brisbane’s Boundless Infrastructure Development
“Every single one of our cities in Australia is seeing new development, and for the industry overseas that’s fantastic because if they know a destination but feel there haven’t been any fresh ideas or products for them to experience, sometimes people are reluctant to pitch it,” Lion explains.
Australia’s New World City is the perfect example. Brisbane is in the midst of a major infrastructure development, with the $3 billion Queen’s Wharf project slated to open in 2022, adding five new brand hotels (including a Ritz-Carlton) with 1,100 rooms, as well as 50 bars and restaurants. The Brisbane Airport (BNE) is also undergoing Australia’s largest aviation project, with the $1.35 billion development of a new parallel runway set for 2020, putting it on par in terms of capacity with airports such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
2. New Air Service on Qantas and American Airlines
Connectivity from Sydney (SYD) just got even better as two new air services have been added: Qantas Flight 73 from San Francisco (SFO), with six services per week, and daily service on American Airlines Flight 72 between Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney.
3. Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Expansion
This year, the MCEC will start construction on its 215,000-sf expansion, set to open in 2018, adding additional exhibition space, meeting rooms, a new banquet hall, and a 1,100-seat theater and multifunction space.
4. International Convention Centre (ICC) Opening in Sydney
When the 50-acre ICC Sydney opens later this year on Sydney’s Darling Harbour, it will be Australia’s largest convention and exhibition facility, with an indoor capacity of up to 12,000 and outdoor event space for up to 27,000.
5. Adelaide Convention Centre’s (ACC) Redevelopment
The West Building, the first half of the convention center’s $281 million expansion, opened in March 2015 with 46,000 sf of multipurpose space and a ballroom that can host groups of up to 1,000. In mid-2017, the East Building will replace the existing Plenary Building (the center’s original home), offering an additional capacity of 3,500.
6. New Virgin Australia Cabins
This spring, Virgin Australia will roll out its much-anticipated Business and Premium Cabin redesigns on the long-haul Boeing 777 fleet, which includes a reverse herringbone cabin layout with direct aisle access in Business Class suites.
7. Hobart’s New Hotels
IHG is stepping into Tasmania’s capital, opening its first property on the island state in 2017, the 187-room Crowne Plaza Hobart. A 4.5-star, 113-room hotel will also open on Hobart’s waterfront in early 2017, with each of the rooms telling stories of Tasmania’s history. In 2018, a 196-room, five-star property is set to open.
8. Sydney’s $4.2 Billion Barangaroo
The long-term Barangaroo development, slated for 2023, will convert a 54-acre former container port into something similar to that of London’s Canary Wharf, featuring waterfront walks, shops, restaurants, event spaces and a 350-room, six-star hotel on the harbor.
9. Tangalooma Island Resort’s Refurb
Tangalooma Island Resort just wrapped up a $6 million refurbishment, offering four conference venues, the 350-person Oceanside Waterfront Pavilion Conference Centre, and accommodations for up to 1,800.
10. Altogether Perfect Sees Rise in MICE Market
The two-year-old marketing group Altogether Perfect, which comprises Newcastle, Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley, noted a 28 percent rise in the MICE Market to the area in the last quarter alone. Over the past year, the destination has made substantial investments in its products, from a $10 million expansion at Newcastle Airport (NTL) to the $4.2 million refurbishment of the Anchorage at Port Stephens.