We spoke with Chris Ingram of Business Events Australia to see how innovation is being approached Down Under. Here’s what he had to say.
Prevue: Can you name a couple of venues that are driving innovation for meetings, incentives and events?
Ingram: The International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), scheduled to open this December, can hold four events at the same time. It is built on 10GB optical fibre backbone that can support any digital environment. Additionally, ICC’s executive chef Tony Panetta, director of culinary services Lynell Peck and leading nutritionist Dr. Joanna McMillan have developed the “Feed Your Performance” menu to enhance the mental and physical performance of attendees.
Are there any cutting edge, out-of-the-box group experiences that planners should consider?
Our business events industry is constantly delivering new ways for groups to experience Australia. The Great Barrier Reef contains 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays. There are a multitude of ways in which groups can experience this iconic natural wonder, including spending the night under the stars on a floating purpose-build pontoon with Sunlover Reef Cruises.
In what ways is your destination cultivating sustainability?
Groups can stay in eco-friendly accommodation, such as O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in the Gold Coast Hinterland, and you can include activities such as a visit to Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on the Great Barrier Reef, where they can feed the turtles. Or hold your event at Doltone House Darling Island Wharf in Sydney, the first 6-star Green Star building in New South Wales.
Is your destination at the forefront of any meetings trends or topics?
Australia is not only a place of incredible beauty, but a place for innovation. Some of our brightest people are breaking new ground across a variety of fields.
This year alone, Australia has made a number of discoveries, including a revolutionary invention by neurologist Dr. Thomas Oxley that will enable people who are paralyzed by spinal cord injury or stroke to walk again. Australia’s business events industry has a close relationship with the world-class research institutions and knowledge hubs that are fostering these innovative minds. They can assist meeting planners in expanding their networks and attracting exceptional speakers and presenters for their events.